As Artsfest wraps, Harrisburg looks to boost tourism all summer

With Artsfest ending Monday, Harrisburg city leaders are looking for ways to boost tourism throughout the summer.

Lenwood Sloan, the city’s director of arts, culture and tourism said the “Summer in the City” campaign will launch soon, as an effort to brand Harrisburg as a tourist destination.

Sloan said the goal of the program is “to lift the dark spirits. Even in our economic reality, there can still be a sense of pride, a sense of joy, a sense of expectation.”

The city is working with the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau and Capital Area Transit on a new advertising and marketing campaign.

“As a bus arrives, it’ll look like one part billboard, one part art,” said Sloan. But, one of the main goals is to reach people outside Central Pennsylvania.

“It’s great for the economy. We are between a six and eight-hour drive from 51 percent of the population of the United States,” said Sloan.

He added the city is bringing back events such as outdoor concerts at Reservoir Park on Saturdays in July and concerts on Sundays at Italian Lake. In addition, Gamut Theatre begins its free Shakespeare in the Park performances Friday with “Antony and Cleopatra” at Reservoir Park.

“Everybody has to step up to help lift the weight of the city, but then everybody should step out and enjoy it,” said Sloan.