Updated: 01/25/2013 10:15 PM KSTP.com By: Joy Lim Nakrin
An estimated 80,000 visitors will descend on Saint Paul this weekend for the Red Bull Crashed Ice Tournament.
Last year, the crowd made an economic impact of roughly $20 million on the city. Downtown businesses say it was a big boost, which they are looking forward to receiving again this year.
Pat Boemer, owner of McGovern's Pub, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Anchor Joy Lim Nakrin: "If you compare it with the other events like WCHA, the state hockey tournament, and Saint Patrick's day, its right up there with them." In fact, Boemer says he doubled his typical weekend revenue during last year's weekend tournament.
And the effects are not limited to the food and beverage industry. Wally Wescott, owner of Wescott Station Antiques, reported a 25% sales increase during last year's tournament. He told Nakrin: "a lot of times they'll come in and say 'do you have a little cup with Saint Paul on it or something like that, or what do you have in terms of typifying Minnesota."
In addition to Crashed Ice, the Winter Carnival takes place in Downtown Saint Paul this weekend. City officials estimated that the two events combined will draw an additional 130,000 visitors.