This study created and field tested a density count method to analytically estimate the number of spectators attending parades. Literature review revealed an earlier suggested method to estimate attendance at parades, but no indication of it ever being assessed in the field was uncovered. Additional literature, more focused on other types of large open festivals, provided further empirical insight into estimating attendance at events in general. The study began with trials and fieldwork to establish basic physical space requirements of spectators, as well as the total available square footage of viewing area along a parade route, in order to ascertain the maximum possible attendance as a control on final attendance approximations. During two major parades in Phoenix, Arizona, researchers hand counted exact attendance in predetermined route sections which, when compared to density counts of identical sections by another researcher, were deemed comparably significant. Combining the density counted estimates for all sections, spectator attendance was extrapolated for both parades, which was found to be considerably less than attendance estimates assumed by event organizers and reported in the press. The density count technique was verified as a valid method to estimate parade attendance, ultimately controlled by calculations of maximum possible attendance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Business and International Management