The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) announced that the White River Wonderland Ferris Wheel attracted 5,387 riders during last month’s ten-day run, despite persistent inclement weather.

“In 2020, we partnered with the City to add the Ferris Wheel to the already impressive list of attractions at the White River Wonderland. Our goal was to enhance the visitor experience and create an annual tradition that will bring guests back year after year,” said Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Crystal Johnson. “Attracting dollars from outside of our local community is a great way to support our small businesses and strengthen our local economy.”

Tooth Be Told Pediatric Dentistry sponsored the White River Wonderland Ferris Wheel, along with ARcare, Bank of Cave City, First Community Bank, LifePlus, Merchants & Planters Bank, Bad Boy, Ozark Mountain Poultry, The Home Depot, Peco, Centennial Bank, CenterPoint Energy, FNBC Bank, Intimidator, Entergy, Southern Bank, and Walmart.

“We are thankful for our Ferris wheel sponsors who recognize the need to invest in tourism-related opportunities,” Johnson said.

Tourism is a critical economic development strategy for the City of Batesville Economic Development program, generating 8.89 million dollars in travel-related payroll and 45.4 million dollars on travel-related expenditures in Independence County annually.

The travel and tourism industry is among the largest in Arkansas, adding to the vibrant and diverse economy. Batesville’s White River Wonderland is one of the most prominent attractions in North Central Arkansas, hosting travelers from San Jose, California, to Washington, D.C.

Through targeted marketing, BACC was able to draw the interest of travelers from thirty-three states and twelve countries. Ferris Wheel riders came from as far away as California and Maine and as close as Tennessee, Missouri, and Texas. Just fifty-five percent of riders hailed from the state of Arkansas.

“We hear from families from across the country who have built their holiday traditions around their trip to Batesville, Arkansas,” said Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh. “We are proud to have earned the designation as the Christmas Capital of Arkansas. The hard work of Johnathan Abbott and the City of Batesville Landscaping Department continues to pay off every year.”

“Our community and partners consistently step up to plate to support great events like this,” Elumbaugh concluded.

For those wanting to support future White River Wonderland events or develop new signature events, contact the Chamber of Commerce at projects@batesville areachamber.com.

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