Since the Firefly Music Festival soared into The Woodlands in Dover in 2012, the event has brought more than just big name artists and national attention to the area.

Since the Firefly Music Festival soared into The Woodlands in Dover in 2012, the event has brought more than just big name artists and national attention to the area.

The major music festival has brought a positive economic impact to the Dover area.

The third time promises to be the charm with hotels throughout Kent County booked solid for the weekend, as more than 80,000 festivalgoers prepare to invade Dover – most of them attending all four days of the festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday.

For the first two years of Firefly, the event had run across three days. Last year, the festival attracted approximately 65,000 people to The Woodlands. With this year’s festival adding a fourth day and featuring 100-plus acts (with headliners including the Foo Fighters, Outkast and Imagine Dragons), more people are expected to pour into Dover this weekend.

And that sounds promising for the local economy, according to local officials and businesses.

“You have 65,000 or 75,000 [festivalgoers] and not all of them are camping or eating meals by the campfire,” said Bill Neaton, the director of economic development for the City of Dover. “A very large number of those folks are staying at hotels and a number of them are shopping at Dover Mall, and the other stores in the area. It has a definite economic impact.”

The Dover Mall issued a statement that its excited for the return of Firefly this week.

“Anytime an event of this magnitude brings visitors to the Delmarva area, we see the potential for increased activity at stores and restaurants at Dover Mall,” the statement read. “We look forward to, once again, welcoming guests this weekend as they take time away from the Firefly Music Festival to discover all the great shopping, dining and amenities available at the property.”

All Dover-area hotels and motels are reportedly sold out for the weekend.

The music festival’s reach has also touched hotels as far south as Milford and Harrington, and as far north as Middletown.

“I’ve had people calling me constantly asking for a room this weekend, but I’m unable to accommodate them,” said Joe Phillips, co-owner of the Causey Mansion, a bed-and-breakfast inn in Milford.

Phillips recently took over part ownership of the Causey Mansion in May, and he says the former owner of the inn told him the place has been booked solid each year for Firefly. Since it’s not common for the Causey Mansion to be sold out on the weekends, Phillips said he wouldn’t mind having Firefly come to Dover more than once a year.

“It’s great,” he said of the music festival. “I think I would like [Causey Mansion] to be full every weekend.”

Last year, Dover Motorsports’ Chief Operating Officer Mike Tatoian announced a 10-year agreement with Red Frog Events ─ the Illinois-based company that produces Firefly ─ guaranteeing The Woodlands would be the exclusive home of the music festival.

Considering Firefly will be here to stay for a while, the festival’s positive impact on the local economy is something that thrills Kent County Tourism Executive Director Cindy Small.

“Firefly Music Festival has been very positive for our area in that it has helped to put Kent County on the map to a new audience,” she said. “A vast majority of previous attendees had not traveled to Dover before, and with the younger age demographic and higher disposable income, we hope they keep Delaware in mind for future visits.”