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Country Boom expected to bring $2.5 million to economy

Kaitlyn Riley

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Festival organizers expect more than 40,000 country music fans to attend Country Boom 2019.

Country Boom officially kicks off in West Salem Thursday, and festival organizers expected more than 40,000 people to enjoy the event throughout the three days. Explore La Crosse said 35 percent of that crowd is expected to travel for 60 miles or more to get to La Crosse County.

“It gets people here,” Executive Director of Explore La Crosse A.J. Frels said. “It gets people talking about La Crosse County. They get introduced to our area. We know that once they are introduced to La Crosse County, we have so much to offer that they come back, so there is that repeat business.”

Country Boom returns to West Salem starting Thursday.

The estimated economic impact of the festival is above $2.5 million for the area. Only in its second year, Frels called Country Boom a staple for southwest Wisconsin. The festival’s initial year made a memorable start in 2019 with rain drenching the grounds, leading to full mud pit experience.

“But, they did a fantastic job last year,” Frels said. “They addressed the situation. They didn’t hesitate for a second to do what they could to make it better for the folks that were at the event.”

Those coming to the event may notice some changes to make traffic less congested. Festival organizers will not let people be dropped off at the grounds by friends or Uber unless they have a certified pass or handicap sticker. Free shuttles will be available. More information can be found at countryboom.com.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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