Weekend events bring traffic to downtown Knoxville

(WBIR-Knoxville) The Tennessee men's basketball game against Michigan brought traffic to downtown Knoxville, but it's not the only reason you can expect to see thousands in the area this weekend. Several events are going on that could bring millions of dollars in revenue to the city.

After a four-year hiatus, the Big Ears Music Festival is back. Organizers expect about 2,000 people to attend the three-day festival from places all across the world.

"It really requires festival goers to explore our historic downtown, which has really come back to life in the past 10 to 15 years in a big way. So in a way, Big Ears uses all of Downtown Knoxville as its stage," City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said on Friday at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Many of those festival goers are staying at Four Points by Sheraton Knoxville Cumberland House Hotel. The hotel is sold out this weekend.

"Last weekend we were sold out, next weekend we're sold out, and the weekend after that we have the "Orange & White" game and we're sold out. So it's been very busy lately," said Claude Ward, front office manager.

Bill Ade is stay at Four Points by Sheraton. He's running in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon on Sunday morning, along with more than 8,000 other runners.

Visit Knoxville predicts the marathon alone will bring at least $3 million into the city.

Ade is taking advantage of the other events this weekend, like Big Ears.

"Well we came in and the cab driver talked about it, so we're excited about it. We want to see the theater and the museum and we love downtown so we're going to try and take in as much as we can while we're here," Ade said.

The Smoky Mountains Regional FIRST Robotics competition for high school students is taking place at the Knoxville Convention Center. Many of the visitors have had a chance to explore downtown.

"We went to Market Square in downtown. It's where we go to take our lunch break. We went to Soccer Taco," said James Birchfield of Lexington, KY.

The competition started on Thursday and ends on Saturday.


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