The Augusta Futurity brings to town nearly 3,000 visitors who spend more than $1 million in a week, according to estimates from the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Peggy Seigler, the director of marketing for the CVB, said the visitors are easy to see.
“It’s hard to miss all those (horse) trailers, and we hope to see them all over town,” she said. “We love to see those visitors.”
While the Futurity is held downtown, restaurants across town see crowds. Suzanne Diaz, who works at TBonz on Washington Road, said it’s a good week for the restaurant.
“We see big numbers for sure, and we definitely prepare for it,” she said.
An estimated 2,700 people come to town for the event, but employees at the downtown Ramada hotel said it’s not as lavish as it once was. Room reservations are high, but banquet rooms aren’t rented out for parties like they once were, said sales assistant Sharon Jones.
“We have tons of room reservations, but we haven’t had any banquet rooms reserved,” she said. “I think the economy is forcing people to scale back a little.”
Nick Joiner, an employee at the Cotton Patch restaurant downtown, said he has also noticed a decrease over the past few years.
“Truthfully, it hasn’t been as strong in recent years,” he said. “We still see an increase but it’s not nearly as big as it has been in the past.”