Legendary Canadian rock star Burton Cummings drew a capacity crowd to the PEI 2014 Celebration Zone Thursday night.
The 5,000 people crowded into the zone at Confederation Landing Park were appreciative of both the music and the provincial and federal governments for footing the bill.
"I think it's fantastic. If it wasn't for these free shows, I wouldn't be able to come," said Anita Johnston.
The Celebration Zone is part of a major effort to mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, which began the discussions that led to the creation of Canada. Overall the celebrations are expected to cost about $29 million. The Celebration Zone is taking between $4 million and $5 million of that.
PEI 2014 executive director Penny Walsh McGuire says the investment is paying off.
"To date we've seen about 20,000 people a week coming through the Celebration Zone," she said.
"I've met people here who have made special trips from Ontario to see artists like Burton Cummings."
Downtown restaurant owner John Likely said the first few weeks of July were unusually busy.
"Normally, the last few years, tourism really kicked off around this time of year, so they were real bonuses for sure," said Likely.
The Celebration Zone will remain open through to the first week of September. The next major headlining artist will be Matthew Good on Aug. 8.
Question of the day: Is the money spent on PEI 2014 well spent?