BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The wait is almost over. Light City Baltimore returns Friday, bringing lights, innovation, and music to several neighborhoods.
Light City also means lots of people will be in Baltimore, spending money. That’s exciting local businesses that have been prepping for the event.
It’s a feast for the senses, illuminating the city skyline. Light City kicks off March 31, and runs through April 8, and it free to the public.
Light City returns for it’s second year, building on it’s dazzling success.
“If you liked last year, you’re going to love this year,” said Kathy Hornig of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
One large scale art installation lining the Harbor came 4,000 miles from Belgium.
“It’s a combination of spirals, as you can see,” said Pol Marchandise, artist of OVO Collective. “You see the design reflected in the water, so to see it surrounded by the sea is perfect.”
It took three days to unpack and rebuild on the pier. Other pieces took months to make.
The breathtaking art took nearly two weeks to install over Baltimore’s water and it is one of nearly two dozen art installations around the City.
It’s economic impact in 2016 was a $33 million, as well as attracting 400,000 visitors, including more than 176,000 people from outside the region.
That set the table for extra business.
Apropoe’s, in Harbor East, will run a special menu during the nine nights of the festival, including illuminated cocktails.
“We want to do everything possible to entice people into our restaurant,” said Jeff Siebold, director of restaurants for Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
“We’re getting ready for our glow bar, and that’s actually going to be right in our lobby area.”
At the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court, the hotel rooms are sold out. That’s a 17 percent jump.
“We’re very excited,” said Bob Haislip, general manager at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. “The hotel community as a whole because it’s timed so well. It’s the time of the year when people are just starting to get out.”
The main stage is where all the performances and concerts will happen, all in an effort to light up the night.
This year, Light City is expanding into eight different neighborhoods, featuring twinkling lights and impressive installations.
Spirit Cruises is offering five additional tours to showcase Charm City.
“It’s something very unique for Baltimore that no other city really has, and to me it’s kind of the future of Baltimore,” Kelsey Carey, with Spirit Cruises. “So it’s only going to get bigger and better.”
Everyone who spoke with WJZ’s Amy Yensi said they didn’t know Light City would be this big the first time around. This year, they know what to expect and are ready for the crowds.