Thousands Converging on Tallahassee

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Thousands of people are in Tallahassee to watch Governor elect Charlie Crist take the oath of office Tuesday afternoon, and that means big bucks for the local economy. But the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will not say how much it anticipates will be spent.

You can look at it this way, the bureau is expecting a record breaking crowd, as far as Florida Inaugurations go.

You can see and hear it already in downtown Tallahassee. Media from across the state are closing in on the Capitol, hotels are booking up and restaurants and museums that would otherwise be closed New Year’s Day were opened.

Carol McDaniel in Tallahassee said she was very surprised, adding, "Happily surprised."

With her two grandchildren and husband in tow, she headed to the Challenger Learning Center Monday afternoon.

"We've been baby sitting for four or five days and we need to get out of the house."

Many downtown restaurants, museums and businesses opened for New Year’s Day to help kick off Inaugural celebrations one day early and to roll out the "red carpet" for the 12,000 visitors expected to converge on the Capital City during the next couple of days.

Sharon Liggett, president of the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "The activity level has started. I noticed people were wandering around downtown, so we're glad people are coming in early."

Liggett says she can't say how much money the thousands of visitors will spend, but she adds that the Inauguration comes at a time when tourism is slow in the area and any dollar spent is more than welcome.

Milan Jelic from North Palm Beach said, “We're excited, that's why we're here. Love Tallahassee! It's a great city, I've been several years ago, of course it's a totally new city now and we're very happy with the growth and prosperity for Tallahasseeans."

The activity will really get started on Tuesday afternoon when thousands of visitors and locals take part in the swearing in of a new governor and Cabinet.