Tuesday, September 17, 2002

700,000 expected downtown this weekend

By Tom O'Neill toneill@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The coming “Red Hot Weekend” could be the most lucrative in the history of Greater Cincinnati, economic researchers said Monday.

        The key: Of the 700,000 expected to attend, a third are out-of-towners, who typically spend two to five times more than locals, primarily for hotels and restaurants.

        They will be here for:

        • Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati (attendance estimated at 500,000)

        • UC-Ohio State football game Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium (67,000)

        • The final weekend of 42nd Street at the Aronoff Center (13,000)

        • The last Reds series at Cinergy Field (120,000)

        That could pump $68.6 million into the local economy, according to a study by the University of Cincinnati's Center for Economic Education. Oktoberfest figures to contribute 65 percent of that.

        “The important thing to keep in mind,” said center director George Vredeveld, “is that when we make these projections ... it's probably conservative.”

        Is this the biggest financial impact in a single weekend in Cincinnati? “I don't know of anything that's come close.” Mr. Vredeveld said.

        On Monday, Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, the “Red Hot Weekend” events co-chair, said, “This weekend is historic in that we'll be celebrating history, as well as celebrating our new riverfront.”

        The weekend also will generate $21.6 million in earnings for local workers, primarily in hotels and restaurants.

        Metro will expand bus routes and provide shuttles from the University of Cincinnati, and restaurants are offering weekend discounts.

        Two other weekend events were not included in the study: Saturday's annual fund-raising walk at Sawyer Point for AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati and Sunday night's telecast from the East Club Lounge at Paul Brown Stadium of the Bengals at Atlanta.


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