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Not Taylor Swift but still Bananas: Major events make stops in Akron, draw visitors into city

Savannah Bananas Akron
Posted at 5:48 PM, Jul 03, 2023

AKRON, Ohio — After a big weekend for Cincinnati with an estimated economic impact of up to $92 million from superstar Taylor Swift bringing her global "The Eras Tour" to the city—and other major artists like Drake and Beyonce leaving Cleveland off their stops this summer—many have been left wondering 'Why not here?"

While Cleveland didn't get Swift or some other of the big tours a few miles south, big names in entertainment didn't skip Akron as a landing spot.

Boost from Blossom

Shania Twain Blossom

This weekend, country music legend Shania Twain brought her "The Queen of Me" tour to Blossom Music Center. The sold-out show brought droves of people into Northeast Ohio, causing hours-long traffic jams and lines to get into the venue—but more importantly, it brought in revenue to the area.

Twain has stopped at some major venues on this tour—including Madison Square Garden in New York City and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles—and Blossom Music Center was a stop on that list.

And while Blossom isn't in Akron, it's in Cuyahoga Falls; it's just around the corner, and every show that comes to the popular outdoor venue brings its impact to the Rubber City.

"I always feel like Akron is one of those big cities, that we're the ones that maybe people forget about. So I'm excited to see that, and especially with Blossom being just to the north of us, that's a huge impact on Akron as well by them coming into this area. We're seeing them use our hotels, seeing them use our amenities that we have," said Chris Griffith, Park Manager of Lock 3.

Blossom can host more than 20,000 guests, and with Twain's show sold out—Akron saw thousands of people in the area, spending money and being a part of the city.

That's the kind of impact the city loves to see, and hopes can continue with efforts like the renovations to Lock 3 that are currently underway and the push to highlight Akron as a destination city.

"Maybe not Taylor Swift, but we want something big. We want to keep showing people that we can do something big because, again, the impact is just so huge for not only Akron but just the whole Summit County. And that's what we're trying to do is just show people like, 'Hey, we're here,'" Griffith said. "We don't know when Lock 3 opens back up with the new renovations what we can do, but we're hoping to be big and on the map for people to be like, 'You know what, I'm going to go see Akron. I'm going to go down to Akron and see what they have to offer."

It's Bananas

Savannah Bananas

While Twain brought in concert-goers to the area, sports fans were drawn to Akron this week as well, with the Savannah Bananas making a two-day stop in Akron during their World Tour, with Canal Park hosting the viral sensations.

From choreographed dances during pitches and base running to kilt-wearing and stilt-batting, the Savannah Bananas have created a new world for baseball fans with their own brand of Banana Ball.

On July 2, the Bananas played in front of a sold-out crowd at Canal Park, home of the Akron RubberDucks. The stadium can hold around 8,000 fans, and with those tickets quickly scooped up, demand was high. Around 35,000 people were on the waitlist for tickets to the Akron game. It was so popular the Bananas added a second day, July 3, at Akron on their tour.

Sunday's first game was a huge hit for the city.

"You can say, in one word, bananas. It was unbelievable. Last night the Savannah Bananas, they brought the show. It was the most exciting rain delay I think I've ever seen in my life. And it turned into like a four-hour opening here at the ballpark. So a lot of fun, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement," said RubberDucks General Manager and President Jim Pfander. "This place was so packed. It was amazing, and nobody left with an hour-and-a-half rain delay. Not one person left the ballpark yesterday."

The draw to see the Bananas play brought in people from all around Ohio—and some, like Jacob Krinock and his family, drove in from out of state for the game.

"Seems like a fun environment, so we all took a family trip and came out, and there’s 21 of us. So yeah, we’re excited," Krinock said.

Krinock and 20 of his family members made the two-and-a-half hour drive from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to see the Bananas play. They brought a whole tailgate with them, cooking burgers and hot dogs in the parking lot across from Canal Park, with banana-flavored candy and yellow cups galore.

While they came for baseball, the family is enjoying an area they would have never normally visited.

"We wouldn’t have come to Akron by any chance. But look at the draw; it’s brought here," one of the family members said. "It’s beautiful down here. We never would have known if it weren’t for the Bananas."

With thousands of fans headed to Akron for some unique Banana Ball, plus the thousands who came to the area from the concert, Akron has had a busy week. Add to that the Rib, White and Blue rib burnoff happening through July 4 downtown,

So while Cleveland may have missed out on some major concerts like The Eras Tour and all of the traveling Swifties that Cincinnati welcomed in this weekend—Akron has enjoyed its own wealth of entertainment and visitors alike.

"So 16,000 for the Banana Ball games and another 8,000 Probably for the RubberDucks Fourth of July, plus you get the rib burnoff after four years. I mean, it's exciting," Pfander said.

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