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Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Sailabration Drew Big Business

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore has reason to celebrate! New numbers show the Star-Spangled Sailabration drew millions to the city and state.

Christie Ileto has more on what this means for the local economy.

More than 1.5 million people flocked to the Inner Harbor for the weeklong event, generating millions of dollars for local businesses and restaurants.

Baltimore has reason to celebrate.

“We were packed the entire event,” said Ranger Jim Bailey.

Fort McHenry was one of the Star-Spangled Sailabration’s main attractions.

The June event brought more than 45 tall ships and Navy vessels to the Inner Harbor, drawing massive crowds that Bailey says they could barely keep up with.

“We noticed a big increase in visitation the week before, the week after,” Bailey said.

The weeklong event celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 drew more than a million Marylanders from across the state, almost half a million out-of-state tourists and $166 million for the local economy.

“It was a huge economic impact for the city,” said Don Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee.

Expenditures for the weeklong festival totaled $4.8 million. Organizers say that means for every dollar spent, more than $35 was generated for Maryland.

“I looked at our records. It’s about 30 percent over our previous busiest week that we’ve ever had here at the Rusty Scupper,” said Ed Prutzer, general manager.

That’s what businesses told us during the June celebration, and Fry says this shows Baltimore is open for business.

“When you have the sort of economic impact it shows that Baltimore is a world-class facility that can host world-class events,” Fry said.

As for the next big celebration.

“Is in 2014, where we’ll have other ships back in,” Fry said.

The ships will be back, and organizers are hoping so will the large crowds.

Organizers are planning for the next big celebration in 2014 during the 200th anniversary of when the Star-Spangled Banner was written. It’s an event they expect to draw just as large a crowd, if not bigger.

Sailabration also increased business by nearly $98 million in direct spending.

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