The exact, official and final NuLu Festival attendance number is in for Saturday’s fifth year of the street party:
Okay, no one has an official count for the festival, which filled the 700 block and 800 block of East Market Street Saturday.
But the Mayor of Gillville, Gill Holland, said by taking the people packed into the restaurants, dividing by the number of temporary tattoos applied, then multiplying by the cubic square feet of NuLu, he figures the crowd topped 15,000 people.
Seriously, Holland noted that there were about 8,000 people and 40 total booths for NuLu Festival 2012 on a much cooler day. “This year, there were 160 booths and the weather was perfect,” he said. “We had to have doubled the attendance.”
Event co-chairs, Christine Vaughan and Ina Miller at the NuLu Business Association used less eclectic calculus to come up with the exact same estimate: 15,000.
“The weather was our friend,” said Vaughan. “A big thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors.”
Emilee Coomes, project manager of marketing and communications for the Local Speed building which housed a Maker Faire exhibit of art and 3D printing, said the building was open between 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and logged 911 visitors.
Most of the other restaurants also reported SRO crowds.
The crowd for the main music act, Shake Anderson’s super group that included Steve Cropper, super-bassist Victor Wooten and session drummer Chester Thompson, drew an early crowd of about 1,000, a crowd that swelled to about 3,000 by 10 p.m.
Holland said based on the success of the addition of Maker Faire this year in the 800 block, he sees possibly of adding the 600 block of East Market to next year’s NuLu Festival.
“We had more vendors call for Maker Faire than we could accommodate. We could have gone to three blocks this year, but the permitting (for closing two blocks on East Market) was already in place,” he said.
The question, said the guy who created NuLu, is whether the quality of vendors and displays can be maintained.
“Bigger is not always better,” Holland said. “The main thing is to keep from expanding too fast and have it look like it’s empty.”
The backstory on NuLu and NuLu Festival: In 2007, Gill Holland and Augusta Holland led a group of investors that included actor William Mapother, contractor Tim Peters and his wife, retired Brown-Forman executive Lois Mateus to buy a group of East Market Street buildings for $5 million. By 2008, a number of the buildings had been refurbished into restaurants, offices and stores centered around the Holland’s The Green Building, Louisville’s first LEEDS Platinum-certified building. By 2009, NuLu Festival was born as NuLu turned into the fastest growing business and retail district in Louisville