RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A packed weekend is on deck in Central Virginia with college graduations, tournaments and Mother’s Day all this weekend. More people means busier traffic and more spending money around the area.
Richmond Region Tourism told 8News on Thursday that VCU’s graduation weekend last year filled 88% of hotel rooms in the area. This weekend, there will be two more graduations, youth sports’ tournaments and Mother’s Day, leading experts to say to plan accordingly.
Set up is already underway for VCU’s commencement this weekend. The chairs set up will soon be filled with graduates, family and friends. “We’re expecting 12,000 people to be in attendance and it’s very interesting because we’ve never set up 12,000 seats before but the place looks great,” Richmond Region Tourism’s Jack Berry said.
Virginia Union University and the University of Richmond will also have graduations during the weekend. At least three youth sporting events will bring another 8,500 to the area.
Richmond Region Tourism says based on hotel occupancy data, VCU’s graduation weekend is in the top 10 busiest weekends of the whole year.
“Family and friends is the number one reason people travel throughout the world,” Berry told 8News, “it’s the number one reason people come to Virginia it’s the number one reason people come to the Richmond region.”
While the upcoming weekend is primed to be one of the biggest for tourism in 2019, experts say that visitors come year round these days.
“This will be a very popular weekend,” Berry said. “Every single weekend is getting to be so popular because there’s always four or five different festivals.”
For anyone planning to head downtown, Berry shared some parking advice.
“If you see a space, take it. Do not try to shop it,” he said, “grab what you can find.”
Christopher Flowers in Carytown also told 8News that between graduations and Mother’s Day, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for flowers as well.