BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Excitement is building as Baltimore gets closer to race days. The Grand Prix of Baltimore headlines this Labor Day weekend.

Pat Warren reports the city is hoping for an economic bonanza.

The Baltimore Visitors Center is busy with out-of-towners coming in for or wishing they could stay for the Grand Prix.

Warren: You know we have a big race coming up this weekend? The Grand Prix.

“Yes and we’re kinda disappointed ’cause I wanted see the Grand Prix while we’re here,” said Tony Dova.

Officials anticipate tens of thousands will see it and spend tens of millions of dollars here.

“We’re gonna see a lot of hotel rooms used, a lot of restaurants being used,” said Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore.

Signal flags and tablecloths are Ra Sushi’s Eric De La Cruz’s idea of a good fit. And race scheduling changes have been made to work to the advantage of his Fells Point restaurant and other locations outside of the track.

“Hopefully it will bring a lot of business down to our area, the Fells Point area, so I’m actually really excited for everything that’s going to be taking place for sure,” De La Cruz said.

Hotels too are counting on the crowds.

“It’s exciting for us, for the hotel industry but also for the city,” said Julien Carralero. I think it has put us on the map. It creates an awareness of what Baltimore is about which is a great thing for the city.”

“Obviously they’re selling a lot of tickets. There are a lot of sponsors this year, and I think it’s going to be — not only from an economic impact standpoint — great, but it’s also going to have a great marketing value as well,” said Noonan.

Of course the actual dollar amount won’t be known until after the race, but in advance of the race it’s clear hotels and restaurants in Baltimore plan to give their customers more than their money’s worth.

Last year’s race generated about $47 million in spending.


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