The Baltimore Running Festival consistently generates about $40 million in economic impact each year, according to official estimates, and at its peak, the Grand Prix of Baltimore pumped $47 million into area hotels, restaurants and stores. But city officials say this week's Star-Spangled Spectacular — which marks 200 years since troops in Baltimore beat back a British invasion in 1814 — could surpass all those totals.
Residents of Federal Hill and Locust Point say they've grown used to the gridlocked traffic, elusive parking and other effects that come with the big weekend events in their neighborhood. Many say it's a small price to pay for their front-row seats to the festivities.
As the nation's eyes turn to Baltimore for commemoration of the War of 1812 bicentennial next week, businesses leaders are capitalizing on what one official called "the largest tourism event in our city's history" and on the chance to showcase the city in three live national television broadcasts.