Fleet Week Excitement Expected to Boost Economy

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– Maryland Fleet Week promises to bring excitement to Baltimore.

The opening ceremony is Wednesday afternoon and touring of the vessels are Thursday and Friday. Saturday the Blue Angels will be overhead the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.

People have been meeting for a year to prepare for Fleet Week military vessels.

“Oh it’s awesome I mean you can’t describe it. You have to see it to really believe it. It’s just gorgeous,” said visitor Chuck Oaklief.

The world-famous Blue Angels, the Navy’s aerobatic team, is also known to attract
big crowds.

“We expect a significant economic impact because it’ll last over a several day period,” said  Laurie Schwartz, president of Waterfront Partnership Baltimore.

Fleet Week and the airshow will overlap with the Baltimore Marathon. That means the city will be packed with visitors all weekend.

Michelle Torres at Phillips Seafood says the restaurant is among others in the city offering special deals through the weekend.

“If you have the Fleet Week band, wrist band, we are offering 15 percent off for that,” said Torres.

More than 2,000 sailors will be visiting and lodging in city hotels.

“Fleet Week is definitely a highlight of the year for us. We look forward to it,” said Bob Haislip of Royal Sonesta Harbor Court.

The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court sold out all 203 of it’s guest rooms for the weekend. That’s 25 percent jump in revenue compared to other busy times of the year.

The hotel is also hosting the commissioning reception for the U.S.S. Sumwalt. The Navy’s newest missile destroyer.

“We’ll have 500 people out here in the courtyard area. We’ll have drink stations set up, food passed through out,” said Haislip.

Fleet Week also means extra work and jobs. Both the hotel and restaurant hired staff just to keep up with the rush this weekend.

Visitors to the inner harbor and downtown are strongly encouraged to walk or use public transportation this weekend. There will be big crowds, limited parking and heavy traffic.

“When the city brings event’s like this it really gives us an opportunity to showcase our city,” said Torres.

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