Athletes from around the state are in Columbia for the 30th Annual Show-Me State Games.
Organizers said the largest games of its kind in the nation mean big bucks for local businesses.
Restaurant managers across Columbia ordered extra food and scheduled more help as they serve thousands of people attending the games.
Shakespeare??s Pizza General Manager Kurt Mirtsching said, ??We do stock up extra for weekends like this. We have hundreds of extra pounds of pepperoni and a lot of sacks of flour and a couple of extra kegs of beer. We stock up.??
Columbia hotels and motels are packed. The Extended Stay America hotel across the street from Cosmo Park is full all weekend. The park is one of the event??s biggest venues.
Hotel assistant manager Akhere Okoiron said, ??We made sure our staff knew that we were going to be filled. We prepared the rooms. We prepared the whole building to accommodate everybody that we were going to be servicing this weekend. We made sure that everyone was prepared for what was coming.??
More than 25,000 people are competing in this year??s games. That??s not including coaches, volunteers, family members and other supporters. Show-Me State Games organizers said their event adds about $15 million to Columbia??s economy each year. It??s not just hotels and restaurants that benefit.
Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Communications Manager Megan McConachie said, ??There are also the other things that we don??t think of like people shopping at gas stations and filling up their cars before they head home. They go shopping during free time. People come in for just these few days and spend a whole lot of money. There??s a great economic impact behind that.??
After 3 days of games this weekend, they??ll have another 3 days next weekend. Athletes compete in more than 40 sporting events for all ages and abilities.The game??s opening ceremonies begin Friday night at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.