MARYLANDERS had fun this past summer -- about 1 percent...

Salmagundi

November 13, 1992

MARYLANDERS had fun this past summer -- about 1 percent more than they did the summer before.

In the months of July, August and September, Marylanders spent $140.3 million on taxable entertainment, an estimated 1 percent more than was spent in 1991. While spending on boat rides and rentals, golf, amusement rides and athletic events increased, other popular summer-time activities, such as movies and arcades, suffered decreases in popularity.

Perhaps due to the mild weather Maryland enjoyed this summer, golfers teed off approximately 11 percent more than they did last year, spending nearly $19 million in the process. Miniature golfers and frequenters of driving ranges came out in full force this summer as well -- 6.1 percent more than last year.

Amusement rides also enjoyed increased popularity during the summer of 1992. Spending increased 8.6 percent from the summer before to $9.3 million.

However, probably due to the larger number of home video game owners, business at arcades took a 1 percent decrease in income this summer.

A surprising decline in spending occurred in the movie industry. Despite a few unexpected low-budget hits such as "Sister Act" and "A League of Their Own," the motion picture industry produced high-priced flops like "Batman Returns" and embarrassments such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Admissions sales took a heavy fall of 15.3 percent from the year before, to about $22.4 million, even with higher ticket prices.

We were puzzled, though, by some of the recreational spending patterns in local jurisdictions. Prince George's County spent $64,000 more on entertainment this summer than last, yet Montgomery countians next door decreased their spending by $48,000, to $869,524. This amount was easily exceeded by both Baltimore City and Baltimore County -- and by less populous Anne Arundel County. Did anyone yell "bingo"?

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