With thousands of people in Dayton this weekend for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, downtown and convention officials are encouraging visitors to take advantage of the area’s history in arts, culture and aviation.
Jacquelyn Powell, president of the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Dayton has “world-class attractions” for visitors to experience today since there are no games at the University of Dayton Arena.
Four second-round games were played Friday at UD Arena and two third-round games are scheduled Sunday.
“We’re looking forward to the large number of visitors in our community,” Powell said. “We want them to experience what Dayton has to offer so they will come back and visit again.”
David Hirshman, a James Madison University graduate, flew into Dayton late Thursday night from Denver for the games. He was with a group of friends from Charlotte, N.C., at Flanagan’s Pub Friday afternoon before JMU’s game with Indiana.
This is Hirshman’s first trip to Dayton, and he said he may visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force before he flies out Monday morning.
“My dad’s a pilot, so that’s the one thing I might do and it sounds pretty cool,” Hirshman said.
The museum is one of several attractions that the Conventions & Visitors Bureau and Downtown Dayton Partnership are promoting, in addition to restaurants and shopping..
Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said the organization posted information about Dayton on the teams’ Facebook fan pages after Sunday’s selection show.
Both organizations also have worked with restaurants, businesses and hotels to create special promotions for the weekend. The Dublin Pub hosted nearly 100 Notre Dame fans as well as the school’s pep band and cheerleaders for a buffet Friday evening.
“We hope all these basketball fans explore our city,” Gudorf said. “Everybody likes to go to a new city and try the local retailers and local restaurants.”
With Ohio State, Indiana and Notre Dame — three teams that played Friday — within close proximity to Dayton, it allows some fans to travel back and forth.
Jacob Garrett drove into town Friday morning for all four games, and planned to drive home afterwards. He plans to do the same thing Sunday.
“I’ve only heard good things about the atmosphere in Dayton,” Garrett said. “I definitely hear it’s a basketball town and everybody comes out to support it. … To have it this close to Columbus just makes it even better.”
Powell previously said the “conservative estimate” as far as the economic impact to Dayton would be $8 million with 10 tournament games this week. Last year’s estimated impact with the First Four and festival was $4 million.
But with Ohio State, Indiana and Notre Dame in town, Powell said the impact will be greater.
“We feel we will be bringing in even larger numbers,” Powell said. “People may not have a ticket, but just want to be here and get caught up in the excitement taking place here.”
For more information about things to do in the area, visit www.daytoncvb.com or www.downtowndayton.org.
The Downtown Dayton Partnership also has a mobile app — Find it Downtown Mobile — available for download at www.mobile.downtowndayton.org. It lists restaurants, businesses, parking information and directions.
THINGS TO DO
National Museum of the United States Air Force
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
The Dayton Art Institute
Five Rivers MetroParks