DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — There’s a lot going on this weekend in Daytona Beach.
There’s an art festival at One Daytona and a Strongman Competition at the Ocean Center. Not only that, but the biggest event is actually the Welcome to Rockville music festival being held for the very first time at the speedway.
For many local businesses, it’s a draw they’ve been waiting for. Accross the street at One Daytona, Eric Jackson is working to be in two places at once. While he just opened up restaurant Stoked Poke, his big focus is on Welcome to Rockville.
“It feels great. Personally, I love festivals and on the business side its one of those things where we got involved in a lot of festivals pre-COVID and then unfortunately when COVID happened, we all know that festivals came to a complete halt,” said Jackson.
While buidling poke bowl after poke bowl helped him open up two resturants, he actually started off with a food truck, which he would usually take to these big events.
”We did lose major music festivals, we lost NASCAR races. We lost anything where there were large groups,” said Jackson.
Now he is getting back to this roots this weekend, feeding hungry festivalgoers. Jackson said the turnout is bigger than he expected and he’s already sold hundreds of bowls. He shared that he has seen other local businesses do the same.
“Yesterday was a huge turn out for a Thursday of the festival,” said Jackson. “The atmosphere out there, the energy is strong and high, it’s awesome really”
Jackson said pre-pandemic, they usually worked 15 festivals year. However, in the last three months they’ve already gone to six. Should events continue to return to the area at this rate, he is excited for what the future could hold.
“I am super hopeful for 2022 I think we are going to have a great year, I think festivals coming back we are actually looking at adding anonther food trucks to our fleet to travel the country,” said Jackson.
The organizers of Welcome to Rockville posted online that they decided to move the event here because of the $400 million dollar rennovation of the speedway and the $200 million invested in the surrounding area, making Daytona more of a destination. More events means more money for local business owners like Jackson and those they employ.
Daytona Beach Police shared they do have more patrols in the area this weekend, mainly to help with traffic management. So far, they say they’ve had no issues, other than a few noise complaints.