By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– We’re just days away from New Year’s Eve and that means Baltimore is gearing up for one of it’s biggest weekends of the year.

A celebration that’s highlighted by fireworks at the Inner Harbor and is expected to create an economic impact of millions.

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It’s been a busy few weeks downtown with the Army-Navy game and the holidays and with New Year’s Eve ahead, many businesses are looking to finish strong.

The Inner Harbor will soon be packed with hundreds of thousands of people and it’s no secret Baltimore is one of the hottest spots to be come New Year’s Eve.

“This is definitely going to be the place to be,” said Mike Evitts of the Downtown Partnership.

With a reputation for a one a kind party, businesses in Charm City are already feeling the rush. Hotel Monaco off Charles Street is just about sold out for New Year’s weekend.

“It is extremely important for the business and economy of this city as well,” said Shahram Khan, general manager of the hotel. “This is like a hidden gem, there’s a lot of people very comfortable coming over here.”

With guests coming from all over, neighboring restaurant B and O American Brasserie is ready to show off new renovations with reservations quickly filling up for New Year’s Eve night.

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“This year we’re expecting our biggest New Year’s Eve ever,” said James Williams, GM of the restaurant. “New Year’s Eve and New Year’s weekend in particular is something we count on to end the year strong.”

Officials say as long as the weather cooperates, there should be a few hundred thousand people at the Inner Harbor on Saturday and a couple of million people downtown.

The last New Year’s Eve report showed an economic impact of close to $7 million for Baltimore. Officials say those numbers will likely be even larger this year.

“Baltimore offers a really unique travel experience, it’s been one of the hottest destinations regionally,” said Evitts.

A way to end the year with a bang, before it gets quiet in the winter months ahead.

Officials say the only other event in the city that can compare to New Year’s Eve in terms of the economic impact is Artscape, meaning opportunities like this don’t come around often for businesses.

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Rick Ritter