CelebrateErie is less than 24 hours away, and local businesses are preparing for the swarms of people that will be coming downtown this weekend.

CelebrateErie brings life not only to downtown Erie but to businesses located there as well.

With thousands expected to travel to Erie this weekend, the city has been busy closing off roads and re-routing traffic. State Street is just one street toward the festival hub of Perry Square that has been shut down, temporarily cutting off businesses there from customers.

However, once the celebration begins, businesses tell us they expect to get slammed with customers.

“We think we’re definitely going to be packed full of people, at least around the main stage being so close to it. We’re going to have some good foot traffic here I think. We’ve told the staff that we’re getting ready to get hit pretty hard. In terms of bar stuff, we’ll have an outside bar to kinda take some stress off of the main bar,” said Lucas Winslow, Molly Brannigan’s bar manager.

One business owner, who said that they’ve been closed for the last 7 years for CelebrateErie, told us that they will open this weekend.

The experience isn’t the same for all businesses.

The owner of Like My Thai told us that he’s been closed during city celebration events in the past. He told us he’s had plenty of customers in the past that would come in only to use a restroom or ask for a cup of water.

That doesn’t bode well for profits on the day, making it hard to rationalize staying open. This weekend, he’s optimistic the chalk walk right outside of his shop will help draw in customers.

“The first year I opened, it didn’t really work out for me. I tried to sell some chicken on a stick like a carnie, but it wasn’t enough to really justify being open. I think that things are different now. Maybe we’re in some new understanding of the pandemic where people feel freer to be out, so I think we’ll have a lot of foot traffic, and it’s going to be a beautiful weekend,” said Michael Augustine, co-owner of Like My Thai.

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Businesses seem to be buckling up and bracing for the flood of people that downtown Erie will see this weekend.