By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opening day at Oriole Park is almost here, attracting thousands of fans that will flood businesses surrounding the stadium.

The Orioles opening day kicks off the peak season for nearby restaurants, bars, and hotels. Businesses are banking on the team’s success and loyal fans returning all season long.

The final countdown to opening day is underway.

“Essentially, a local holiday where people take off work, they’re getting out of school and coming downtown to be part of the celebration,” said Greg Bader, Orioles VP of communications.

A sea of orange will soon flood downtown Baltimore, “Means the return of people from the county and surrounding areas to come to Baltimore and have a good time,” said James Williams, GM of B & O American Brasserie restaurant.

Opening day launches the busy season for local restaurants, bars, shops and hotels, giving them the chance to wow customers and create a first class experience.

“Beauty of this ballpark and where it has been placed. The fact that it is intended to take an entire experience and come to the game, stay for dinner or show, or come down early and frequent the tourist attractions,” said Bader.

This is the first year opening day will coincide with Light City, an event that typically attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and brings in millions of dollars.

“Downtown was built for big events, so we’re good at handling them,” said Mike Evitts, with Baltimore Downtown Partnership. “So having opening day at the same time as Light City is going to majorly affect the economic impact and increase the bump for both events.”

Baltimore is hoping to satisfy loyal fans and attract new visitors.

“Guests that are traveling to see the away team also come in here for a drink and meal, and again, if they have a great experience, the next time their team is here they’re going to stay,” said Williams.

The success of the Orioles is setting the stage for a prosperous season in Charm City.

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