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Parade Generates Estimated $1.47M Economic Impact

Parade generates estimated $1.47M economic impact

An estimated 17,000 Big Top Parade spectators funneled nearly $1.47 million into the Baraboo Area’s economy last month.

Despite rain, the parade packed downtown Baraboo streets with spectators June 8, and filled local hotels through that weekend. Using visitor spending formulas used by Sauk County and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce estimates the parade and related events had an economic impact of $1.47 million. An estimated $92,000 in sales tax and hotel room tax was generated over parade weekend.

“Spearheading events that bring visitors for overnight stays is critical to our mission,” said George Althoff, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. “This benefits not only hotels, but restaurants, convenience stores and shops.”

The Chamber works with Circus World and the volunteer Big Top Parade Committee to present the annual parade as a tribute to the community’s circus heritage. This year’s parade weekend included a concert by Professor Stich’s Original Circus Band at Concerts on the Square, as well as performances of Circus World’s “Blast Off!” big top show.

“Circus World’s show and our parade were out of this world, as always,” said Nanci Jenks, Co-Chair of the Big Top Parade Committee. “We’re grateful to the 80-plus bands, floats and walkers that made this an unforgettable parade.”

Events are vital to Wisconsin’s tourism economy, which generated a record $25 billion in 2023, according to the Department of Tourism. Sauk County brought in nearly $2 billion in visitor spending last year, creating 11,800 jobs and generating nearly $150 million in state and local tax revenue. Sauk ranked third among Wisconsin counties, trailing only Milwaukee and Dane.

The Big Top Parade will return to downtown Baraboo’s streets Saturday, June 14, 2025.

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