$30 million expected to be pumped into economy during Bridge Run weekend

Updated: Mar. 28, 2017 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau say $30 million are expected to be pumped into this economy this weekend in the greater Charleston area.

With the 40th Cooper River Bridge Run starting the month of April off, local businesses are looking to

"It's the busiest day of the year," said Charleston Beer Works General Manager Matt Hensley. "It's kind of a full scale thing."

Restaurants and bars downtown are preparing for heavy foot traffic Saturday after the race, opening earlier than normal.

"We're open at 10 a.m. instead of 11:30 a.m.," Hensley said. "Pretty much once we open those doors people are piling in."

While a recovery party will be held in Marion Square, Hensley said runners will likely branch out around downtown.

"There are literally more people in the streets then there are seats in bars, in restaurants," he said.

Restaurants won't only be feeling the effects. Hotels for 'out of towners' are also being booked.

"We've still got some rooms to sell," said Charleston Area CVB board chairwoman Linn Lesesne. "Some of our other business associates have said the same thing in Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston and downtown. So not all the rooms are filled yet."

With Charleston being ranked one of the biggest tourist capitals of the world, that $30 million isn't necessarily isolated to downtown Charleston.

"They're going to take full advantage of Charleston and all the different things," Lesesne said. "Whether that be in Summerville, Mt. Pleasant, James Island. the beaches... everybody gets a little bit of heaven when they come to Charleston."

"We'll see a huge influx of bridge run runners on Saturday," said Sr. Program Dir. of Summerville YMCA, which hosts Flowertown Fest. "They're all proudly wearing their bibs. They're so excited and still have tons of energy to do the festival."

Local businesses and other festivals in the area are preparing for large crowds as early as Thursday night.

As a comparison, a 2011 study done by the Citadel estimated $18 million was spent during Bridge Run weekend in the Charleston area.

According to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, visitor industry brings in $3.6 billion dollars to the area annually, based on an economic outlook report.

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