BALTIMORE (WJZ)–New Year’s Eve may be a real blast for party-goers, but all the fun means a financial boom for the city.

Derek Valcourt reports from the Inner Harbor where businesses are getting ready to help you ring in 2011.

Restaurants, bars, hotels and other attractions are all expecting bigger crowds this year than last year. And bigger crowds mean bigger dollars.

At B&O Brasserie the staff and new chef Thomas Dunklin are getting ready for the rush: two New Year’s Eve dinners and a party already sold out.

“We were really hoping for a big bang at the end of the year, and we were fortunate enough to get it and sell it out in about a week and a half,” said Marcus Garner, B&O general manager.

Last New Year’s Eve brought some 50,000 visitors to the Inner Harbor who helped generate $6.9 million worth of business and $93,000 in state sales taxes.

“This year, with the weather being nicer, we could expect up to 100,000 people and that could increase the economic impact to about 13 million,” said Sara Hisamoto, Visit Baltimore.

At the Intercontinental Hotel, sold-out reservations already mean a better New Year’s Eve than last.

“It is big business,” said Mary Sipes, Intercontinental Hotel. “This is kind of the last hurrah for the year to get those last dollars into the coffers before the New Year starts.”

Last year, out-of-towners made up 80 percent of the fireworks crowd; 28 percent came from out-of-state.

The sold-out hotel Monaco is ready for lots of locals.

“We have roughly about 150 reservations during this hotel stay with us and about 135 of them are completely local, local to the state of Maryland,” said Awet Sium, Monaco assistant manager.

The Maryland Science Center knows adults are not the only ones who want to celebrate.

“We try to do as much around New Year’s Eve for families and especially young kids as we can,” said Van Reiner, Maryland Science Center president.

The Maryland Science Center expects a crowd of 3,000-4,000 for a noon party and ball drop designed for kids.

And you don’t have to leave the house to enjoy this New Year’s Eve. You can see all the fun live on WJZ-TV, as we present the Ports America Chesapeake New Year’s Eve Spectacular.  It all starts at 11 p.m. Friday.


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