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Big events bring large economic impacts to Leon County

Posted at 12:09 AM, Oct 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-17 10:09:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A major investment into Tallahassee's Apalachee Regional Park is now paying off.

The Florida State University Cross Country Invitational brought collegiate cross country teams from across the country to Tallahassee Friday.

"We ended up having about a $4.5 million economic impact with this event," said Senior Director of Sales and Sports for Leon County's Division of Tourism Ryan Zornes.

On Saturday, high school cross country teams from across the southeast also competed.

"Just over 5,000 athletes that competed out here on the course, and we're anticipating over 9,000 spectators," said Zornes.

That's over 14,000 people across Tallahassee spending money at local shops, restaurants, hotels and other local businesses that need support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the same weekend, Leon County also helped bring Boz Scaggs to Cascades Park bringing over 3,000 people to downtown.

Kerri Post with Visit Tallahassee said they're targeting specific dates to bring tourism to Tallahassee.

"Every weekend through December if there is not a football game there is either a Cross Country event, there is either a concert, something is going on every weekend to bring visitors to our community," said Kerri Post with Visit Tallahassee.

The massive surge of visitors to Tallahassee may also be the reason that The Greek Food Festival saw record attendance at the Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church.

Mike Gavalas said the festival acts as a major fundraiser for the church, adding that they usually see around ten to 15,000 people, and at one point, expected a lower turnout than usual.

Not the case during one of Tallahassee's busiest weekends this year.

"This is a phenomenal turnout really with COVID still bothering a lot of people but Tallahassee loves a Greek food festival so they come out to see us," said Gavalas.