The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater receives grant as part of $22.5 million statewide investment to support local festivals and attractions, drive tourism across Illinois
DECATUR, IL – The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater has been selected to receive a $500,000 grant from the Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as part of a $22.5 million investment for nearly 90 local tourism festivals and attractions across Illinois.
“We are excited to expand on the overwhelming success of the Devon G. Buffet Amphitheater by adding additional amenities for our patrons” stated Clay Gerhard, Executive Director of the Decatur Park District. “The additional restrooms and concession space will help eliviate the long lines and ease the congestion patrons can sometimes experience. This will drastically improve the overall guest experience and make each visit to the Devon more enjoyable.”
The Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant will help provide funding for an extension of the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater’s concession and restroom facilities. The Devon can accommodate up to 3,400 guests at each of the approximately fifty concerts throughout the summer season.
The Devon staff quickly realized a need for a larger concession stand after seeing over 65,000 guests in the 2022 season. “We plan to see more this summer” stated Devon Amphitheater Manager, Mike Wilcott, “The Devon continues to grow every year, and we want to bring the best customer experience, and that’s where this extension comes in”.
As the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater continues to grow, they are seeing more and more tourism travel from 3+ hours away. This means Decatur is becoming a destination city in Illinois.
The $22.5 million in Illinois Tourism Attractions and Festivals grants provides funding to localities, organizations, and businesses for a broad range of tourism-related improvements, events and activities. This builds upon $10 million in funding through the first round of the grant program in 2022 that provided to 40 localities across the state. Combined with Illinois’ largest-ever tourism campaign, ‘Middle of Everything,’ Illinois is prioritizing investing in its thriving tourism industry while driving millions of visitors to choose Illinois for their next trip.
Through the $22.5 million investment, $5 million was reserved for festivals, which serve as economic drivers while bringing communities together, and $17.5 million is supporting a broad range of other tourism-related projects such as attractions, museums, live performance venues, and more. The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater’s application was selected for an award through a competitive process, which required demonstrating how the award would help businesses in the surrounding area, as well as the project’s ability to attract visitors for overnight stays.
Work will commence immediately following the 2023 season.