Washington festival goes on despite killer sniper attacks
Tuesday 29th October 2002 12:10
The flurry of sniper attacks which have claimed several lives in Washington DC last week failed to stop a massive outdoor food and music festival, Taste of DC.
Rebecca Pawlowski, of Washington DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, which organised the event, said 220,000 people turned out in cloudy, rainy weather on the first day (12 October). The event usually attracts a million people over three days.
Pawlowski said the festival was nearly pulled at the last minute because for the first time in its 11-year history the city government was no longer covering insurance costs, which had soared.
At hotels in the city, the message was upbeat. Patti Hance, director of sales and marketing at the Swissotel Washington - the Watergate, said there had been no drop in business at the 250-bedroom hotel.
Last weekend was fully booked and so far there had been no sniper-related cancellations in October.
Security had been increased, but, as at Taste of DC, large sporting events had gone ahead. Nearly 50,000 people attended a Redskins football game.
"People are determined to carry on with their lives. I guess they feel safer in crowded areas," Hance said.