ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University alumni are coming home this week and they're expected to make a multi-million dollar impact on the area's economy. As ASU celebrates homecoming, local businesses expect to stay busy.
Some are already packed with Albany State football fans. Businesses suffering through the economic slump hope homecoming will help kickoff end of year profits.
The blue and gold theme has never been brighter for Albany State University's homecoming 2008. The spirit on campus is evident.
"I'm excited," said ASU Sophomore Jasmine Dyer, "I'm just ready for the game."
"It's packed, it's crowded. It's flags," said ASU Senior Tristin Thomas, ""you see a lot more blue and gold than you usually do."
That spirit can also be felt outside of ASU's campus. It's crept into area hotels. Hotel rooms are booked solid. "Albany State's homecoming is a very exciting event that takes place every year and hotels just get swamped," said Vicki Marchman with Quality Inn Merry Acres.
All 110 rooms at the Quality Inn Merry Acres will be full this weekend. They've had to refer people to as far away as Americus. "We're still getting phone calls," said Marchman.
Traffic is expected to be heavy on roads with many of those cars headed to Albany restaurants and shops over the next few days. Lucky Mirwani hopes some of them come his way. Business has been slow.
"Very, very quiet," said Mirwani.
So he has his merchandise ready for the crowds that are expected to hit downtown for festivities. "I hope that boosts up business. I hope everyone comes downtown for the parade and everything and start shopping in downtown," said Mirwani, "small businesses need all the help they can get."
While businesses think about potential profit, students continue to think about all of the fun ahead. "Go to the game, stand next to the band, hear the band going at it, the whole atmosphere of it," said Thomas.
It all translates to $4.5 million for Albany and Dougherty County.