COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
It's a big weekend for Columbia as several events will keep residents and bring visitors to the city.
Several businesses are excited to see the Special Olympics make its way to the city, students graduate from Columbia Public Schools and fans attending regionals for Mizzou softball.
A few businesses said they're excited about how packed Columbia will be this weekend.
"There's so many more people, constantly hundreds of people walk through our door every single day so definitely ready for this", said Isabelle Skinner a barber at Renz Blenz in downtown Columbia.
Toby Epstein, general manager at Shakespeare's Pizza, says his business has already experienced an uptick in customer traffic shortly after graduation started.
"We'll definitely see an up-tick this weekend with a lot of different things going on with the Special Olympics and graduation and things like that so we have a lot to look forward to," said Epstein.
More than a thousand athletes and volunteers are coming to Columbia to kick off Missouri Special Olympics. The three-day event is being held at The University of Missouri and Rock Bridge High School. This will be the first full event since 2018.
"It's a really exciting time to have people here and see them compete and to know that they're having a really wonderful experience in our community," said Megan McConachie, spokesperson at the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Columbia.
This weekend not only will Columbia be full of Special Olympic contestants but the streets will also be filled with high school graduates and athletes.
"The end of the semester is always really crazy around here, business kinda really picks up, especially over the graduation weekend but even a little before and a little after we see an uptick in business," said McConachie.
Both the Convention and Visitors Bureau and multiple businesses downtown say whenever they have a large number of visitors in Columbia, it creates a good economic impact.
"It really has a positive impact, not only over the specific weekend but as we move down the road so it's great to have that many people here in Columbia.", said McConachie.
"I think we just anticipate every weekend to be super busy and it's exciting that there are more things going on," said Skinner.
Volunteers are still needed to help out during this weekend's games. Click here to sign up.