Water Follies Weekend Boosts Local Economy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Water Follies Weekend Boosts Local Economy

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- People from across the Northwest will make their way to the Tri-Cities for the Water Follies this weekend.

Those visitors will bring their wallets with them and will provide a big boost to the local economy.

The excitement is building for the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup and many local businesses are preparing for the busy weekend.

Water Follies packs Columbia Park full with locals and visitors to take in the quintessential summer event in the Tri-Cities.

The crowds spend their dollars at businesses around the region and give a boost to the economy.

"Restaurants, gas stations, hotels, but other retail. People while they're here, they're going to buy things. They're going to visit. The wineries also experience some visitors that want to do things maybe after the races or before the races," said Kim Schugart, Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Water Follies not only boosts business over the weekend. It also generates interest for future visits and tourism opportunities.

"They come into the community. They spend money and that's great for our economy, but it really is a great way to get people into our community to experience if for the first time," Schugart says.

Hotels know that Water Follies means full capacity.

Around 6,000 people stay in hotels over the weekend and that brings in $2.6 million.

"It's definitely a weekend we count on as far as selling rooms," said Kathy Moore, Courtyard Marriott in Richland.

Saturday night is already oversold at the Courtyard Marriott and Friday is filling up fast.

The demand for rooms is high, even a year in advance.

"A lot of times when people will leave the year before, they'll make reservations right away," Moore said.

"Truly is an iconic event for the Tri-Cities. A lot of people identify us as being Water Follies or their first experience in the Tri-Cities is Water Follies or they've been coming to the Tri-Cities for years due to Water Follies. It is a great signature event for our community," Shugart said.

Water Follies officially starts on Friday, but lots of people are already enjoying the fun. All that fun brings lots of spending too and businesses are gearing up to meet that demand.