|The key to both the financial and community success of a festival or major event is the participation of sponsors. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia, is an example successfully using an economic impact study to turn a small, local festival into a highly successful, international event. In 1990, organizers of the Festival commissioned an internationally known marketing research firm to conduct an economic impact study for that year's Festival. Five basic research steps were undertaken, including site visits, telephone interviews, and an on-site visitor expenditure survey of festival-goers. The study determined that the Cherry Blossom Festival had a $4.29 million impact on Macon and Bibb County in 1990. The study also showed that nearly 191,000 people attended at least one event in 1990. Macon's residents support the festival through volunteering and attendance. These results have had a spectacular impact on the direction and growth of the festival as it continues to expand its events, capabilities, and sponsors. A professional, unbiased economic impact study provides the documentation necessary for a festival to demonstrate return on investment to corporate sponsors and attract sanctioned events, in-kind donations, officials, media sponsors, and the community support that make it successful.