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Spring at The Silos Starts Today

Road construction near Magnolia Silos nears completion ahead of Spring at the Silos
Dustin Drew
Road construction near Magnolia Silos nears completion ahead of Spring at the Silos

March is usually the month where cities in Texas began having their festivals. In Houston, you have the Livestock Show and Rodeo. In Austin there’s South by Southwest, and in Waco, it’s Spring at the Silos.

The Magnolia themed festival kicks off today and goes through Saturday at the Silos in Downtown Waco.

The festival is expected to bring about 50,000 visitors to the area, and Carla Pendergraft, the assistant Director of Tourism with the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau says it’s a big deal for Waco.

“All of those people are eating at our restaurants, bringing economic impact to those entrepreneurs. Staying at hotels, many of them, some drive in and out, but some don’t. So, the economic impact is great.”

Pendergraft says that the city estimates that each person spends about $85 dollars per day, and up to $200 a day if that includes a hotel stay. She also says that the city recently received reports showing that hotel occupancy for 2021 was over 65 percent, only getting beat out by El Paso.

“That means that you know over 65 percent of the time, every hotel room is full in Waco. Although we haven’t come totally up to where we were in say 2019 before the pandemic, we are very close and we are beating every other city out.”

The Findery is a furniture, home goods and boutique store close to the Silos, and say they see an increase in foot traffic during Spring at the Silos but it’s not what it was before the pandemic.

“We’re still about 30 percent down from where we should be pre-COVID.”

That’s Matt Koen, General Manager of The Findery, and he tells me he’s not sure if it’s the pandemic, or all of the construction around the Silos that has caused a decline in business.

Koen tells me now that his bar called The Boiler Room located inside The Findery is open, he’s able to spend more one-on-one time with customers. I asked him if he thought the construction would leave a bad impression of Waco with visitors.

“I think that buzz is contagious, so they get that and feel that, and their excited to come back, when its, I tell them to come back in a year and a half, when a lot of this stuff is supposed to be done.”

Pendergraft says that one of the things about Magnolia, is it’s not a one-time visit.

“People tend to come back again and again; they’ve been great at rolling out new attractions as part of their complex.”

And speaking of rolling out new attractions, this week to celebrate Spring at the Silos, Magnolia announced the launch of new Magnolia themed flavors of Blue Bell Ice Cream.

“When I think of Blue Bell and I think of Magnolia, I think of two, just Texas brands, that have strong foundations, and strong values. It just came together really naturally.”

Becki Shepard is the Chief Operating Officer of Food at Magnolia, and says the new flavors will be available at the various Magnolia locations. She tells me they started with over 20 flavor ideas and narrowed it down to five.

There’s Waco Town Vanilla, Jo’s Lemon Pie, Chip’s Salted Caramel Truffle, Smores at the Silo and then there’s the Magnolia Press Chocolate Cake.

Shepard says that Blue Bell helped create something special for them to get just the right flavor.

“There is a Graham Cracker sauce, they crafted just for us, and it has never been used in any other flavor in Blue Bell’s history, and it really just helped us kind of nail what we were looking for with a couple of our flavors.”

For more information and a list of events for Spring at the Silos, you can go to magnolia dot com, and click on the visit tab.