Hoopfest tourism brings business to Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Hoopfest is just a few days away, and local businesses are excited for the increased revenue the weekend will bring.

Tens of thousands of people will flood downtown for Hoopfest, and that means millions of dollars will be pumped into the local economy. But, preparing for those crowds doesn't happen overnight.

Bill Nelson owns the Tropical Sno stands, which set up in Riverfront Park for major events each summer. Hoopfest is the company's first big event. And getting ready for this Friday has been months in the making.

"I start making ice in March, and we have gone through 15 and a quarter ton of ice at Hoopfest. So, it's a lot of ice," Nelson said.

Restaurants in downtown say they will see crowds non-stop, from open to closing.

"It's the biggest day, biggest weekend of the year, easily. I mean, there's a lot of good weekends, but Hoopfest weekend blows them all out of the water," said Travis Rehmke, an employee at The Onion downtown.

This will be his fourth Hoopfest working.

The Onion says no matter where you go, expect to see a wait.

"Smaller parties, as little as 30 minutes. Bigger parties, as much as an hour, hour and a half," Rehmke said.

Even if you've never experienced Hoopfest before, people know to prepare for something special.

Veronica Dake will be volunteering for the first time this year, and says she has no idea what to expect.

"I'm kind of nervous, kind of excited though. There's going to be a lot of people, and I'm just like... yeah," she said.

With all that work, you might expect many to be dreading the very busy days ahead.

But, those KXLY 4 News spoke with say they're more than excited.

"I get to help and learn and meet new people, so that's what I'm most excited about is learning about new people," said Dake.

"It's what I live for. There's busy days where it's crazy, it's just chaos all around you, but you find the calm within your section. After a long day, it's like 'whoo,'" Rehmke said.