Rock-and-roll heavyweights including the Wallflowers and Smash Mouth helped attract approximately 40,000 people to Brookhaven’s two-day Cherry Blossom Festival in March, according to an estimate by city officials.

The fifth annual fest, held at Blackburn Park on March 30-31, included other notable bands the Spin Doctors and the Romantics. Sunny and clear weather also made for a good weekend for visitors. This year’s crowd estimate was up by 60% over last year’s 25,000 people over the two-day fest.

Crowds packed Blackburn Park during this year’s Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival to hear such bands as Smash Mouth and the Wallflowers. City officials estimated the crowd topped 40,000 over the two-day fest held March 30-31. (City of Brookhaven)

The large crowds easily overwhelmed the approximately 10 food vendors, however, and many attendees skipped the long waits to walk across the street to such businesses as the Publix, Kroger or McDonald’s to grab some beer or sandwiches.

[T]here simply were not enough,” Patty Hansen, director of special projects, told the council at its April 9 work session.

Hansen said businesses some of the business reported they saw significant increase in sales on Saturday, March 30. A Publix deli worker told one city employee they usually make 3,000 sandwiches on a Saturday but reported making about 6,000 during the festival.

“It’s always great to hear others benefit as well,” Hansen said.

Publix store manager Greg Fife said the festival did bring in a lot of customers but did not have any firm numbers.

“I’ve never seen so many people,” he said. “It was a good day.”

No arrests and no major emergency medical incidents were reported.

Attendance numbers are based on public safety estimates, numbers of people riding shuttle buses to the event and even the amount of trash.

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