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USA Triathlon National Championship pulls in big bucks for Burlington.
Melinda Moulton, co-owner of Main Street Landing on Burlington’s waterfront, spent 40 minutes sitting in traffic on Lake Street Friday night thanks to the crush of visitors associated with the USA Triathlon 2011 National Championship on Saturday — and she couldn’t have been happier.
“These kinds of events are priceless for Burlington, absolutely priceless,” Moulton said Monday. “You can’t put a value on it. I’m sure someone figured out a number, but events like this are what keeps us alive.”
With such an event, Moulton said Main Street Landing’s parking turned over roughly five times, at $5 per car.
“That is why Burlington is different than a place like Pittsfield, Mass., which has empty storefronts,” Moulton said. “We do have these big events and it’s the big events that really keep us competitive.”
Tom Torti, president of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, did put a number on the economic impact of the triathlon: $4 million, which he characterized as “very conservative.” The event drew close to 2,500 competitors, plus whatever family members and friends came along as supporters.
“You have people staying at hotels for two or three nights, eating out for two or three nights, they’re shopping like crazy for everything from bicycle parts to clothing,” Torti said. Saturday afternoon, traffic was backed up in Burlington far from the waterfront, and sidewalks were clogged with visitors.
Read more: Burlington Free Press