A busy weekend in Wausau brought millions of dollars to the city -- both from international visitors and people in the area.
Whether high in the sky -- or paddling through water -- on the square -- on the diamond -- or on the grill -- the possibilities this past weekend were nearly endless. Wausau's Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates more than $3 million were funneled into the city during the bustling busy weekend, bringing big bucks to businesses.
"I think just about every hotel room was booked," said Wausau CVB sales director Richard Barrett. "In fact, last year about this time, we were only about 47% occupancy rate. And then this week we were almost at 100 percent."
Hundreds of athletes from around the world plus their friends, family and fans filled hotel rooms around the city while visiting for the Junior Canoe World Championships and Junior Olympic Girls State Softball Tournament.
With a roof over their heads, many out-of-towners also filled tables at area restaurants. 2510's restaurant manager Chris Lemmer said they had extra staff on hand to help get people in and out with a smile.
"When you get the people coming in, you're always constantly moving and servers are working together traying up food, getting drinks and side salads for each other," said Lemmer.
After people were rested and fed, many came downtown, covering sidewalks with chalk drawings and filling businesses around the 400 Block.
"Truly an amazing weekend," said Ken Haines, who owns Campbell Haines Menswear. "Wausau was on stage with the international tourists and kayakers. With Chalkfest, we had tons of people through here. Wausau really put on a big show for everybody."
City leaders give Wausau's central location credit for drawing crowds during the weekend festivities.
"Sometimes we don't have a choice when the events can be, as we found out this past weekend," said Barrett. "We'd love to put them on separate weekends but you've got to take it when they come available to you."
With this weekend's events behind us, now people in the city look forward to more excitement in the months and years to come.
Wausau is one of three cities in the running for another big international competition -- the World Championship Horseshoe Pitching Tournament in 2014.
If you're looking for another reason to come to the city a little bit sooner, next month's Wausau marathon also looks to draw big crowds from around the state.