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Mumfest important part of New Bern's economy, showcasing

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NEW BERN, Craven County - Mumfest kicked off Friday in New Bern. It's a fun-filled event that's a big economic impact to the city and downtown.

You can expect lots of people in downtown New Bern as around 100,000 are expected for the annual event. It's not only fun for those who attend, it's also a nice boost to the many businesses and organizations in the area.

Greg Smith, the owner of Mitchell Hardware, has been here for around 30 Mumfest events and enjoys each one more than the last.

"The Mumfest is a great family event here in Eastern North Carolina and we are proud to welcome people to our shallows and our straights, to our beautiful town," Smith said.

Smith said he loves to interact with the new faces that come pouring in. It's also great to see the economic boost it brings to his store and many other locations.

"This weekend there will be hundreds, maybe even thousands, from area towns even from outside the state, experiencing our town for the first time and walking our sidewalks and visiting our historic sights and our shops and our restaurants," Smith said. "They're falling in love with our community.and they return, that's the other benefit."

But businesses aren't the only ones that benefit from the busy weekend. The Coastal Carolina Women's Shelter is one of the 45 non-profits that will have booths this year.

"Not only is the Mumfest important for the business community, and a great way to show off you town, it's also really important for the non-profit groups and organizations in this town," said Tova Hairston with the Coastal Women's Shelter. "For many of them, this is their principle fundraising activity."

"We like to have fun things going on at the table to kind of engage the audience, bring folks into the table and that gives us the opportunity to share more about the work tht we do," Hairston said.

"Every event there is always at least one person who we kind of have introduced ourselves to," Hairston said. "A lot of folks ... it's more like a refamiliarizing process, you know they may have heard of the name but they're not exactly sure of what we do and the services that we provide. "So its always a wonderful opportunity to connect to the community and kin of educate or re-educate some folks."

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