Albany - An estimated 20,000 alumni and fans crowded Albany for the Albany State University Centennial Homecoming Celebration. And, they were spending money as quickly as you can say "Go Rams."
Hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls racked in hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. From the pockets of every screaming fans flowed big bucks. "We were expecting a large crowd, but we got more than we expected. And, that is great," said Janice Misher, Carter's Restaurant.
Golden Ram fans packed Carter's Restaurant over the weekend and nearly left the pots and pans empty. "Food we didn't expect to run out of, we did. But luckily, we had something else to replace it. We were ready for them," said Misher.
Carter's didn't run out of the annual crowd favorites. "People love the oxtails, chitterlings, turkey and dressing, fried chicken and porkchops," said Misher.
After the parade and the game, tired fans even had a hard time finding places to rest. "We had calls all month from people who wanted a room. And, we had to tell at least 100 people no", said Jaye Lomax, Sleep Inn Marketing Manager.
Sleep Inn was booked solid, as was every other hotel in Albany. "People had to go to Dawson, Sylvester, and even Tifton to find a place to stay," said Lomax.
Many people came in as early as Wednesday to enjoy festivities and watch the Tom Joyner Radio Show Friday morning. And, business say the big celebration couldn't have come at a better time. "The hotel industry is doing so poorly right now because of the economy. We really, really needed this," said Lomax.
So it was a big win for the Golden Rams and for the local economy.