VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - This weekend, Virginia Beach will see its last Rock 'n' Roll Running Series as the city welcomes a new sporting event, the American Cornhole League Games. With the holiday weekend and two events coming to the tourist city, Oceanfront businesses say they haven’t seen the turnout they would normally see heading into a holiday weekend.
"We have a little over 8,000 runners," said Drew Wolff, the regional director for the Rock 'n' Roll Running Series.
"We got players from all over the country who are flocking here - players from Florida, Massachusetts, California, Texas," added Trey Ryder, the chief marketing officer for the American Cornhole League.
The American Cornhole League says they chose Virginia Beach because of the city’s popularity.
"We’re hoping we get a few thousand people to fill the stands here to watch," Ryder said about the cornhole games.
Despite the two big events scheduled for Labor Day weekend, hotel managers and restaurant owners are skeptical.
"Demand hasn’t been quite as high as we hoped, but we’re hoping with the Rock 'n' Roll Series and cornhole and all the free music going on at the beach that we’ll fill up before it’s all done," said John Zirkle, the general manager of the DoubleTree Hotel in Virginia Beach.
Zirkle says he and other hotel general managers are surprised by the low turnout at the Oceanfront.
"Usually this is a very strong weekend. I don’t know if it’s COVID-related or because kids are back in school, but in the past weekends Labor Day has usually been pretty strong. But we’re just not seeing the demand for as high as it was during the Fourth of July or Memorial Day weekend," Zirkle said.
The owner of Dough Boys Pizza, George Kotarides, says Fridays have been quiet at the Oceanfront lately, but he remains hopeful the boardwalk will become busier this weekend.
"Labor Day is normally a great weekend for us, so we’re anticipating that. The weather looks terrific," Kotarides said.
Organizers of the Rock 'n' Roll Running Series says there are fewer runners this year than in previous years because of the pandemic.
"This year is unique because of the pandemic, so I think we’ve got a really strong field but less than we’ve seen in the past," Wolff said about this year's event.