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Special Olympics Economic Impact

Indiana Special Olympics is coming to Terre Haute for the 50th year. We looked at how this event impacts the Wabash Valley economy.

Posted: Jun. 7, 2018 6:33 PM
Updated: Jun. 7, 2018 7:35 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Indiana Special Olympics is celebrating 50 years in Terre Haute. This year, they are breaking records with the number of people attending the event.

With almost 3,000 competitors, 1,500 volunteers and countless spectators coming from all over Indiana. Local hotels and residence halls have filled up.

LINK | SET-UP UNDERWAY FOR THIS WEEKEND'S SPECIAL OLYMPICS GAMES

They will also likely be shopping at local stores and eating at restaurants. 

All that means an increase in business for local owners. For George Azar, owner of The Saratoga, that's good news.

"It's great!" Azar says, "anytime we have something downtown, it's good for, I believe, all the merchants downtown." 

David Patterson, Executive Director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, says "You'll have a little tough time going out to eat Friday and Saturday night but short of that you might encounter a little bit of traffic here around campus."

Patterson says, "You have to look at what we receive in return and the fact that we're showcasing our community in a good moral spotlight. I think it's worth the extra time."

Terre Haute's tourism industry makes the city about 40 million dollars a year and the Special Olympics brings in about 2 million. 

The games begin Friday morning and last all weekend long around Indiana State Universities and Rose Hulman Institute of Technology's campuses.

You may experience a little bit of traffic and some extra busy restaurants Friday and Saturday because of that. 

For an entire list of games and times for events, you can visit their website here.

Follow Sarah Lehman on Twitter and Facebook

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