TYLER (KYTX) - Thousands of people are pouring in to Tyler this weekend for the 80th Annual Texas Rose Festival. These tourists are a huge money driver to the city- and restaurant, business, and hotel owners are counting on them for revenue.
It was prime time for lunch at Corner Bakery Cafe Thursday- and employees couldn't get food out fast enough to customers.
"We're filling up. So, a lot of patio space, filling it up by 2. So, no, they're in town." says restaurant owner Robert Owens.
He says he always welcomes a packed lunch hour.
"The parade brings a lot of people in town and all the debutantes and their families from outside cities, outside of Tyler bring in a lot of folks too." he says. "So, the motels are full, I'm sure. And, the restaurants reap the rewards of that."
To the tune of $2.4 million. Susan Travis with the Convention and Visitors Bureau says that's how much money the entire Rose Season of October brought in last year.
"They're spending their money at restaurants, and they're spending their money shopping. And so, those are all fresh dollars that have a huge economic impact."
Travis calls them the cleanest source of revenue.
"Those are the best kinds of dollars that you want coming into the city." she says.
From shoppers like Shirley Shelburn visiting from Greenville.
"Fourteen of us from Johnson Street Church of Christ decided we'd like to come and see the roses and also visit with a friend." she says.
Travis says 77,000 tourists graced the Rose City for last year's festival weekend.
"It is a very busy time and we're so excited about the Rose Festival."
And, hoping for an even better turnout this 80th anniversary.