Black Expo sees attendance rise at Summer Celebration

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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