The Arnold Sports Festival has returned to downtown Columbus, bigger and better than ever. It is the one weekend each year where we pencil-necked, out-of-shape downtown office workers feel like we live in an oversized world of gigantic professional wrestlers who sport bulging biceps and barrel chests under tight-fitting clothing.
The Arnold, which runs through tomorrow, is a tremendous boon for Columbus and local businesses. It is estimated that visitors to The Arnold will spend more than $42 million during their stay in Columbus. It brings lots of visitors to town from all over the world, and it features events all day at five different venues in the area. Those of us who work in downtown Columbus can see the economic impact firsthand — increased car traffic, increased foot traffic, and lots of activity at hotels and restaurants.
Yesterday Richard, JV and I went to have lunch at the North Market — which is one block away from the Columbus Convention Center, the hub of The Arnold — and the area was jammed with cars and Arnold attendees. As we left, we saw people lugging huge sacks of product they had purchased from the many retail stalls at The Arnold. I have to believe that, if you are a business selling fitness-related products, The Arnold is the highlight of the year. The attendees are people who are really serious about body-building, or fencing, or kick-boxing, and they will spend liberally in pursuit of their passion. We Columbusites welcome them all.