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Black Expo sees attendance rise at Summer Celebration

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Attendance at Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration was up 5 percent compared to last year, the local organization reported Friday afternoon.

The 10-day event, which ended July 17, saw attendance of 241,727, versus last year's 229,376.

“We are extremely gratified by the outcome, even though we will constantly strive to push participation toward that lofty goal of 300,000,” said Tanya Bell, chief executive of the IBE.

Corporate sponsorship topped $1.4 million. Summer Celebration’s presenting sponsor was the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency. Other sponsors who signed multi-year commitments were Indiana University, Purdue University and Crown Hill Cemetery.

Novo Nordisk, which began sponsoring Summer Celebration last year, increased its sponsorship in 2011 from $50,000 to $125,000.

Bell said she recognized a need to attract more retail exhibitors. While the economy had an adverse influence, she said IBE is looking for ways to make the event more accessible to small businesses and specialty vendors.

As IBJ reported last month, the organization was working to overcome negative publicity generated last year when 10 young people ages 10 to 19 were injured in three separate shootings downtown.

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  • Joke
    We are supposed to be proud of IBE this year because there were no shootings? Are you kidding me? What type of organization has their religious leaders meet with gang leaders asking them to avoid bloodshed? While we didn't have any shootings this year, we still had reports of drug use, prostitution, racial comments and intimidation. Yep, that is something to be proud of. I hear Detroit is hurting for business. Why not move the great IBE Summer Celebration there??
  • Security
    I understand the concern about the violence. I really hope that people understand that it's not the event. It's the majority of the people that cause problems. Like last year.... it was ONE person. I beg that you don't write off the entire event because of a VERY VERY VERY small group of trouble makers.
  • YEP!
    I agree 100%. I find it very strange that a cultural/family event needed all of that security. And on top of that, members of the inner city clergy actually begged gang members to stay again from downtown. Sorry, but I'm not at all impressed with IBE.
  • Excitement?
    Should we be excited about an event when we had every police officer on duty (no vacation allowed), help from other law enforcement agencies and every group assisting, short of the National Guard. Until things are peaceful as they are when the FFA, NCAA, College, and othr groups come to town, I am not the least impressed. Rest assured that our citizens intentionally stayed out of downtown to avoid problems.

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