Nicolet Bank Tall Ships festival brings in boat loads of money to area

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Friday wrapped up the first official day of the Nicolet Bank Tall Ships festival with a fireworks display over the Fox River.

The Picton Castle, one of the Tall Ships, docked at Leicht Park.

A heads up for drivers in downtown this weekend, the Main Street Bridge will be closed this weekend, until 6 p.m. Sunday, to accommodate foot traffic.

Nearly 60,000 people are expected to come through the grounds for the weekend-long event.

“All of the hotels in the downtown will be at full occupancy this weekend as a result of an event like this,” said Jeff Mirkes, executive director of Downtown Green Bay, Inc.

Which is the case for one famous hotel across the river from the festival. It's Hotel Northland's first experience with the event.

“It's very, very exciting. We're very close to the festivities, and we're sold out both weekend nights and we have quite a few reservations for the Walnut Room and Poke the Bear (restaurants),” said Kenny Didier, general manager for the Hotel Northland.

The festival is also a first for Copper State Brewing, which was only in the planning stages the last time tall ships came to town.

“Now we've been open for 2 years, and we're ready for lots of people coming through the door and hanging out in the beer garden,” said co-owner Missy Martens.

They’re making sure the doors stay open an extra day to accommodate the crowds.

“We're usually closed on Sundays, but we're going to be open this Sunday and doing a Sunday brunch out here in the beer garden,” said Martens.

In 2016, the tall ships brought more than $4 million into the area, and establishments are really embracing the theme of the event.

“We'll be putting on pirate tattoos, and we have a fun picture station by our two cows, Buttercup and Bessie where they can dress up with pirate or beach apparel and just have a fun station for them to play around at,” said Adrienne Winter, general manager of The Cannery Public Market.

Winter says they were not expecting the crowds they got from the festival in 2016 and ended up serving nearly 500 people per day over the weekend.

They are ready and expecting similar crowd numbers this time around.

But, other events in the area are fueling the economic momentum leading up to the weekend.

“I think it's a really good signal to the area as well that there's a variety of events that continue to happen, and whether it's Packers training camp or fun runs or activities,” said Mirkes.

CLICK HERE for Nicolet Bank Tall Ships events, admission and parking information.



 
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