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Weekend Could Come Close To Matching A Gator Bowl Game In Terms of Economic Impact

6:47 PM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
  • Jacksonville Jazz Festival to bring thousands to downtown, many from out of town
  • Arena to host 10,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in town for convention
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four huge events are happening all at once on Memorial Day weekend in Jacksonville that will bring lots of visitors and money to town, coming close to matching the economic impact of a Gator Bowl game say city officials.

The first big event is the USA soccer team taking on Scotland at Everbank Field. A crowd of at least 20,000 is expected for the USA's last game before heading to the Olympics. " This is going to be huge for the city," said Mayor Alvin Brown. " It will bring a thousand fans from Scotland, be televised in the United States and internationally. It will put Jacksonville in the spotlight  again. I am about sports and entertainment, this is going to be great."

SLIDESHOW: U.S. Men's Soccer Team

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival will be a three day event downtown that expects to draw 150,000 visitors to downtown for three days of music. Thousands of music lovers will be from out of town as the Jazz Festival is gaining a national reputation and growing in popularity. Jazz fans from out of town will venture here for a holiday weekend of great music with some of the best in the business, according city spokeswoman Ginny Walthour.

Ten thousand Jehovah's Witnesses will take over the Veterans Memorial Arena for a big convention that weekend.  The group promises to bring other big events to town since the city booked them on Memorial Day Weekend. UNF is hosting an NCAA qualifying track meet over the weekend that will bring 3,000 athletes and at least 7,000 family members and others to the city.

Downtown hotels are expected to sell out and others will be at high occupancy around the city.  The Hyatt and Omni , host hotels for the Jazz Festival, are close to a sellout three months out. " We will be real busy, " says Barry Sondern, General Manager of the Omni.  "The economic impact will be huge for the City of Jacksonville, it should be phenomenal and we are excited."


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