MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thousands of people are heading to Rutherford County this week for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Spring Fling, bringing a much needed financial boost to businesses still recovering from the pandemic.
After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, Spring Fling is expected to bring 30,000 people to Rutherford County. Fans will be lined up at 13 different venues in the county to watch high school teams from across the state compete for championships.
During this week, the TSSAA will crown 32 team champions and 160 individual champions in tennis, track and field, soccer, baseball, and softball.
"I know residents in Rutherford County are excited, and we are truly rolling out the red carpet this year," said Barbara Wolke, Senior Vice President with the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Wolke estimated the event would generate about $3.5 million dollars for the local economy.
"With 25,000 spectators and 5,000 athletes, area hotels will be at maximum occupancy, and this is much-needed revenue," said Wolke.
Restaurants are also gearing up for a busy week and are ready to serve thousands of hungry fans. At Toot's in Murfreesboro, owner Wade Hays said it's all hands on deck.
"In a situation like this, we are offering overtime and asking people to work extra hours to get through the week," said Hays.
Hays said the Toot's on Franklin Road is located near many of the Spring Fling events. After a challenging financial year, Hays said he welcomes the challenge of handling the extra customers.
"Restaurant workers have been strained to get the hours, tips and money they need to survive, so this means we’re back," said Hays. "That’s a great feeling."
Wolke said the event also provides volunteer opportunities for around 1,000 people. They assist by helping with parking, scoring events, and working entry gates.
"It's a great opportunity for residents to come and out and give back to community, and see some of the best high school athletes in the state," said Wolke.
TSSAA events run through Friday, May. 28. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online here.