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Norfolk businesses relish recent boost from the MEAC basketball tournament, Shamrockin' in Ghent

Two yearly traditions drew large crowds Friday night in the Mermaid City.

NORFOLK, Va. — Basketball tournament games for The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (the MEAC) are winding down in Norfolk.

Athletic participants hailed from eight historically Black colleges and universities, including Norfolk State University.

Since Wednesday, thousands from near and far have come to Downtown Norfolk to cheer on their favorite team and support the local economy, too.

The MEAC is always considered a huge economic driver for Norfolk, attracting locals and visitors alike and typically generating millions of dollars. 

Several downtown businesses are surely winning big. Friday night, especially, a nearby Norfolk community also saw a boost of its own from a fan-favorite event.

"It's been awesome, it's been great," said Johnny Beasley.

13News Now spoke with Beasley who was in town from Princess Anne, Maryland. 

"For the MEAC tournament, to support our teams," he said. 

He works at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and said it's his first time in the Mermaid City.

Beasley was among the scores of people who walked through the downtown corridor and packed local restaurants.

"The Twisted Crab, the Buffalo Wild Wings. I actually went to the mall today. I didn't realize there was a mall here. I went there, and I spent a little bit of money," he added. 

Earlier this week, employees downtown told 13News Now the crowds are something they geared up for.

About 10 minutes away from the Scope Friday night, people came out in droves for the Shamrockin' in Ghent block party.

"Usually, this is a bar hopping kind of night, but we're getting quite a few families as well," said Scarlett Posey, manager at Ynot Italian on Colley Avenue. "This is a great night for us." 

So, just like the downtown businesses, Posey said she double stocked, prepped extra and staffed up.

"Typically, we get almost triple in sales than what we usually do on a Friday night," Posey added. 

Back in Downtown Norfolk, business owners and managers are bracing for one more day of the recent boost in business, thanks to the MEAC.

Saturday will mark Championship Day. 

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