Breaking News
More () »

Big events expected to draw thousands to Columbia this weekend

Thousands of tourists are expected to visit Columbia for the Women's March Madness Tournament game and Five Points' St. Patrick's Day Festival.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two big events are happening in Columbia this weekend. The Capital City will be hosting the first two rounds of the Women's March Madness Tournament, and the Five Points St. Patrick's Day Festival.

Both events are expected to draw in nearly 50,000 people, according to Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Carl Blackstone.

We’re excited," said Quinn Sellers, General Manager of Smoked. "I’m excited to be able to show everybody what we offer here."

Sellers said with the upcoming busy weekend, he's excited to get more exposure for the restaurant. 

"We definitely have an influx in reservations," Sellers told News 19. "I’ve actually gone through our Open Table and opened up some availability for more of these customers coming into town."

Smoked joins other businesses looking forward to more revenue. Ashley Lindler is the owner of 'A Little Happy', located in Five Points and is ready for the weekend crowd. 

RELATED: St. Pat's in Five Points returns for 2022, here's the artist lineup

"Being able to just say hello to some friendly faces and say come back next week to see me or come by Sunday," Lindler said. "I am thrilled to see who's gonna come out and celebrate."

With thousands of tourist booking hotels, and spending money at local businesses, those tax dollars could prevent any future tax increases for city residents. 

"This is a huge boom for us," Blackstone said. "More people coming to Columbia, more people eating out, more people visiting retail stores.”

Blackstone told News 19, this is the first time Columbia has hosted an NCAA Tournament since 2018. 

RELATED: South Carolina is the top overall seed in NCAA Women's Tournament

"Something that we can't plan for every year but certainly one that we're appreciative that they're here," Blackstone said. "To bring more folks from around the country into Columbia for this tournament just adds more people, more heads to beds as we call it, but more visitors to spend the night, which is great for hotels."

According to the Director of Communications for Experience Columbia, Charlene Slaughter, Downtown Columbia has 21 hotels, many of which are fully booked or near full capacity. 

"With these events, that certainly helps create more visitors, more reasons for people to come to Columbia," Slaughter said. "This weekend, we're so excited for everything and everyone that's coming and just hope this continues. We're excited to welcome back visitors."

RELATED: More businesses calling Columbia home

Before You Leave, Check This Out