In addition to providing an opportunity for local residents to enjoy one of America's favorite pastimes, The Dixie Boys Baseball World Series is anticipated as having a $2 million impact on Covington's local economy.
Approximately 600 visitors are expected to descend on Covington this Friday to cheer on their favorite baseball team during the week-long series. Along with attending the games, visitors will be frequenting local hotels, shopping at local stores and eating at local restaurants.
With the opening ceremony taking place on the Covington square Friday evening, business is expected to be particularly brisk for square vendors. Several businesses on the square will extend their normal business hours to take advantage of the crowds.
"There's been a considered effort on the part of the businesses in the downtown district to capitalize on this," said Josephine Kelly, director of Main Street Covington.
Kelly said businesses on the square have planned a marketing campaign to target visitors with special promotions during the week of the tournament.
"The biggest plus is the desire on the part of the recreation commission to stage the opening ceremonies in the downtown business district," Kelly said. "We really appreciate the efforts that the recreation commission goes through to make sure we all have the opportunity to leverage the best economic return from these events"
Mayfield Ace Hardware plans to welcome Dixie Boys visitors, who bring their tournament programs with them, with a 20 percent-off discount on any one item purchased in either of their two locations or at Max and Lily's Shop for Children.
The stores will also be giving away baseball gibbets for children's and adults' crocs to Dixie Boys attendees said Patricia Mayfield, a co-owner of Mayfield Ace Hardware.
"Almost all of the children have crocs and this will work in any of those," Mayfield said. "It's just a fun little giveaway for the young folks."
A Touch of Country, a business/restaurant on the square that sells furniture and home accents will be extending its normal business hours on Friday to 8 p.m. said owner Harold Duren.
"We're just making sure we have plenty of lemons for lemonade," he said.
The Holiday Inn Express, located on the Access Road, is fully booked for the Dixie Boys. According to Andrea Stone, hotel general manager, all 66 rooms have been reserved. Drop-offs in reservations begin a few days later when eliminations from the series are expected to result in some families departing from Covington early.
"We've turned away business that's for sure," Stone said. "I'm sure it's going to have quite an impact on the local economy."
The formula, provided by the Newton County Recreation Department, used to calculate the expected economic contribution of the series is based on the number of teams (12), the number of people each team is expected to bring with them (50), the length of the tournament (seven days), the average amount spent in a day by each individual ($150) and the rollover rate of the number of times each dollar will be reinvested in the local economy (3.5).
"A lot of people wait and save this for their vacation," said Clara Deemer, director of tourism for the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce. "You'll have these people around town, when they're children aren't playing. We just want the community to come out and support and show visitors Covington's hospitality.