TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – A major investment in Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee is now paying off.

The Florida State University Cross Country Invitational brought together college cross-country teams from across the country in Tallahassee on Friday.

“We ended up having an economic impact of about $ 4.5 million with this event,” said Ryan Zornes, senior director of sales and sports for the Leon County tourism division.

On Saturday, cross-country teams from Southeastern high schools also competed.

“Just over 5,000 athletes have competed here on the course, and we’re expecting over 9,000 spectators,” Zornes said.

That represents more than 14,000 people across Tallahassee spending money on stores, restaurants, hotels and other local businesses that need support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That same weekend, Leon County also helped bring Boz Scaggs to Cascades Park, bringing more than 3,000 people downtown.

Kerri Post with Visit Tallahassee said they are targeting specific dates to bring tourism to Tallahassee

“Every weekend until December, if there’s no football game, there’s either a cross country event or a concert … something happens every weekend to bring visitors to our community, ”Kerri Post said with Visit Tallahassee.

The massive influx of visitors to Tallahassee may also be the reason why the Greek Food Festival recorded record attendance at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Mother of God.

Mike Gavalas said the festival acts as a major fundraiser for the church, adding that they typically see around 10 to 15,000 people and at one point expected a lower turnout than d ‘habit.

This is not the case during one of the busiest weekends in Tallahassee this year …

“This is a really phenomenal turnout with COVID that still bothers a lot of people, but Tallahassee loves a Greek food festival, so they come to see us,” Gavalas said.