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Hampton Roads businesses ready for busy event weekend, bringing in tourism dollars

Shamrock Marathon
Shamrock Marathon
Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 19:10:23-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — This weekend thousands of runners will make their way down to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to get some miles in and to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

For many businesses, it signified the end of winter as they prepare for more tourism to come to town.

On a warm day in March, many were out at Murphy's Irish Pub on Atlantic Avenue drinking and playing games.

Shamrock Marathon

It's a business built for a weekend like this.

"Extremely busy weekend because people come to Murphy's because Murphy's is Irish, shamrock, the race, the race starts here, people will see the sign and they say oh let's go back to Murphy's," Lester Fields with Murphy's, said.

This isn't the only athletic activity bringing in crowds to Hampton Roads.


At the Norfolk Scope, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament continues through the weekend.

The tournament which has called Norfolk home for the last 13 years brings not only coaches and players but fans downtown.

"I mean since COVID we haven't had this kind of activity on the streets," Kurt Krause, with VisitNorfolk, said.

Krause said this weekend alone people who are visiting from out of town will bring in millions through hotel stays and visits to downtown restaurants.



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"You could say that it's $5 million injected into our economy because of the MEAC tournament," Krause said.

Hotels in downtown Norfolk said they are feeling the surge.

"There's a lot of different people in town our sleeping arrangements, we are sold out tonight and tomorrow night with the tournament so it certainly helps this time of year," James Heineman, with Hilton Norfolk The Main, said.

That electrifying college basketball tournament atmosphere will continue to happen at the Scope after the MEAC recently signed on to return for the next three years.