The 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships is taking place this weekend in Rockford. 94 teams and nearly 1,700 athletes will compete at the BMO Harris Bank Center. With events like this it means hundreds of thousands of dollars for Rockford and area businesses.
One of those people who came to Rockford for the event is Greg Kasperski. He is a hopeful dad watching the Downers Grove Dazzlers. Greg's probably not what comes to mind when you think synchronized skating as he sports a Bears jersey and a cowboy hat to the event, but he is ready for the action. "You'll here me tomorrow. Just watch!"
Greg is just one of the thousands of fans that have traveled to Rockford for the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
Josh Albrecht, Director of Marketing at the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says this tournament puts Rockford on display this weekend. "Since this is the National Championships we have teams from all over the United States," said Albrecht. "I believe we even have a team from Hawaii. We've got athletes and visitors from all over the country to visit Rockford this weekend."
The RACVB estimates nearly 5,000 people are expected to visit the area this weekend. That means dollars for the city.
"We have an estimated impact of about $630,000. That's a nice little shot in the arm this time of year, which is typically a slower time. February is typically not a busy month for sports tournaments", said Albrecht.
Hotels, restaurants and bars have all seen an increase in business for this weekend. One of those restaurants is District Bar and Grill downtown who have seen a big increase in reservations. "They have about 25 to 100 guests each reservation. Last night we had a big party of 80. We got a busy week," said Manager Justin Belknap.
From downtown Rockford to the BMO Harris Bank Center, the skaters aren't the only ones dazzling the judges.
Kasperski, a Downers Grove resident, raved about the area, "This is beautiful. Quite exceptional. It's a great place to have Nationals."