GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Businesses across Grand Island are preparing for the return of the State Fair this week and the multi-million dollar impact that it has for local businesses.
Servers at the Farmers Daughter Cafe are rolling silverware, preparing for a lunch rush. (Credit: Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)
Varsha Patel owns Grand Island's USA Inns of America and she says state fair week is one of her hotel's busiest.
"The State Fair comes around and we get busy. We get more customers," Patel said. "It's great for business and it's great for Grand Island. State fair is more busy, more events, more people. It's hard to hold the crowds."
She is just one the many business owners who see a large increase this time of year.
"The last four, five, six years have been awesome," Farmers Daughter Cafe Owner Deb Dalton said. "We get a lot of the vendors for breakfast and we get a lot of the vendors for lunch too."
Restaurants, gas stations, hotels and stores all benefit from what the Economic Development Corporation estimates is over a $12 million impact on the local economy.
"It has a great impact on not only Grand Island but the surrounding area, all of Hall County," Corporation President Dave Taylor said. "300,000 guests coming into Grand Island. Hopefully they all enjoy the state fair. It's a huge economic impact."
The economy can be impacted more than just by guests who are visiting for the fair. The Economic Development Corporation says they use this time to show how great they city is.
"When there's visitors in town, we want our town to look great," Taylor said. "They can take that back to their hometown or their business that they're currently at and say 'hey have you ever thought of Grand Island as a place to locate?' It's a very critical time for us to have a showcase of Grand Island."
In the last ten years since the fair has been in GI, they say more businesses have come to town including many hotels and restaurants.