SPOKANE, Wash. - With one concert down and six more to go, Spokane is reaping the rewards of country music star Garth Brooks' first trip to Spokane in nearly 20 years.
"I grew up listening to Garth Brooks and I have been my whole life," said Kashia Ramirez. "I am just so excited to be here."
The excitement and anticipation of the 11,000 first night ticket-holders was electric on Thursday as the gates opened at 6:00 p.m.
Brooks, who last performed in Spokane in 1998, attracted an international crowd with committed fans driving from as far as British Columbia to see him perform.
Among the crowds were many who had seen him perform back when he was last here.
One of those was Michael Mears, who was able to meet Garth in 1998 when he was working for a country radio station. He said he had been struck at how kind and genuine of a person Brooks was.
"I brought a bunch of stuff for him to sign for my friends and family," said Mears. "I took the stuff and he signed it and then he gave me $200 out of his wallet and I said 'Garth, what is this for?' and he said 'You are my guest and being my guest you don't need to pay for Garth stuff.'"
"I was just blown away, I will never forget that," he shared.
Businesses around Spokane have been thrilled to have Garth in town, with Visit Spokane estimating Garth's visit will provide a $14.6 million economic boost to the city.
It has made for one of the best November's the Davenport Hotel's have had.
"The phones just went off the hook and people were all online booking their rooms," said Matt Jensen, Director of Sales and Marketing for Davenport Hotel's. "People are coming from Montana, Tri-cities, even from our local community. They wanted to be in downtown to make a weekend out of it."
He says the hotel is sold out for Friday and Saturday nights, and the remaining concert nights are filling up fast.
To get into the Garth spirit, the hotel added four new Garth inspired cocktails to their bar and restaurant menus. The hotel has also added chicken and waffles and biscuits and gravy to its brunch menu.
At the Blackbird, a restaurant right around the corner from the Spokane Arena, extra staff has been called in, and extra food has been prepped.
"We have extra fries, extra burgers and extra patties, we have a lot of stuff in stock so we won't run out of anything," said Samantha Deems. "We are excited to have Garth Brooks just up the street."
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