The purpose of this study is to make better estimation of number of attendees to an open, free cultural festival. After reviewing various advanced and available techniques, including aerial photographs and forecasting methods, we choose to utilize a simple quantitative method of counting attendees physically at four multiple points of entry to an open, free festival, where researchers are estimated to capture 80~95% of all attendees according to organizers, town administrators and residents. We used the structured sampling of 15 minutes’ actual counting in every hour at four locations, including three entry points and one central point, with hand-held tally counting devices (without on-off switch nor batteries).

The festival, which is an African-America festival commemorating former resident of the town, Ms. Zora Neale Hurston, has objective data on attendee counts for the first time over two decades of history to be around 41,000. The study is not counting complete population, but rather making better estimation of the structured inflow of attendees to an open festival environment. The versatility of the simple old method implies that this method still maintains good external validity to estimate attendees to an open, free festival without tickets or fences, as long as researchers can identify major points of attendee inflow through prior consultation and collaboration with local organizers and administrators.