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June Jubilee brings tourism dollars flowing through Kalamazoo's small businesses

Local business owners said these kind of events bring in a lot of tourism dollars to their companies and the city – and you know it's June Jubilee when the streets of downtown Kalamazoo are filled with people, art, music and food. (WWMT)

Bronson Park will be packed with people for tomorrow's concert, just like it has been all weekend for June Jubilee.

Local business owners said these kind of events bring in a lot of tourism dollars to their companies and the city – and you know it's June Jubilee when the streets of downtown Kalamazoo are filled with people, art, music and food.

“Art is just one of those things that brings people together -- like pizza,” Jeff Vanhassel of Man Child Arts said.

“It's great knowing that downtown is alive. We've only been here three years, but we've heard stories when it wasn't as open and vibrant and filled with businesses and people,” Kristen Squire, a visitor to June Jubilee said.

Thousands of people visit the annual weekend festival, many of which are looking to spend some money.

Cherri's Chocol'Art has been cashing in on the celebration for the second year in a row.

“June Jubilee last year was great for us and this year even better,” Ashley Rafferty, manager of Cherri’s Chocol’Art, said.

Rafferty spun Michigan maple syrup cotton candy to lure customers inside to buy some of their gourmet treats.

“A lot of new people have come into our business. A lot of people didn't even know we were here,” Rafferty said.

This is the third year for Man Child Arts. Vanhassel says he keeps coming back because it's a good weekend for him to make money selling his blown glass art.

“I do see a lot of repeat customers. It's kind of crazy. Year after year, you get to develop relationships with people that you normally wouldn't come into contact with,” Vanhassel said.

The fun is good for businesses and Kalamazoo’s economy. Visitors from different cities and states also join June Jubilee, bringing tourism dollars with them.

“Probably get at least 5,000 to 6,000 people coming through all the booths here. Plus, with Bronson Park going on, there's a lot of art happening here in Kalamazoo right now,” Vanhassel said.

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