BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Sidewalk Film Festival attracts thousands of people to the Magic City every year and is expected to reach pre-pandemic numbers again this week. With an influx of tourists comes an influx of money into the city.
When people come to town, they need a place to stay but they also need places to eat and explore. The city of Birmingham says the hospitality industry benefits greatly from events like the Sidewalk Film Festival, helping to draw in more large-scale events.
With part of the Sidewalk Film Festival happening at the Sidewalk Cinema in Pizitz, some of the bars and restaurants inside are seeing more foot traffic.
“Everybody walks in from three entrances and before or after or between their movies, they’ll come up here and get something to eat or something to drink,” says Jesus Mendez, owner of Unos Tacos and The Louis Bar at the Pizitz Food Hall.
Mendez says this weekend should bring a spike in sales from the film festival.
“Sales probably on Friday and Saturday about a 30-40% increase in sales,” Mendez said. “We’re just staffing up and having our inventory full and we’re just trying to get it done.”
Williams says this festival is one of his favorite Birmingham events as it’s unique and draws in a different crowd.
“Not only are we adding to the city’s portfolio of things available to do in the city of Birmingham and things to entice people to come to the city of Birmingham, but we’re also pitching to the retail and hospitality markets saying that our room nights are up in the city of Birmingham and with that demand we can have more spaces, more venues, more retail,” Williams said.
The Sidewalk Film Festival will continue through Sunday night.