Sing Song visitors will likely have an economic impact of more than $400,000 for the city of Abilene, according the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau.
About 1,000 people come to the city for the event, said Trish Dressen, communication director for the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau. Last year, the economic impact on the city amounted to $440,000, which is based on a state formula that includes money spent by visitors on restaurants, shopping, hotels and gas.
Dressen said Sing Song visitors don’t use every hotel room in the city, but usually visitors for graduation fill every hotel. In the past, ACU’s graduation weekend has coincided with Abilene’s Western Heritage Classic and graduation at the other universities in town.
Guests started booking rooms 11 months in advance at the Residence Inn by Marriott, located on East Overland Trail, said Denise Worley, general manager of the hotel. The hotel had all of its 117 rooms booked for Sing Song weekend since Thanksgiving. To compensate for extra guests, Worley said she makes sure the hotel is fully staffed.
“We just put more people in place on the desk and at breakfast,” Worley said.
The hotel makes about double the revenue during Sing Song weekend than average weekends, Worley said.
Wholly Cow, a burger restaurant on Judge Ely Boulevard, also gets more customers during the weekend. Michael Rodriguez, general manager of the restaurant, said store sales almost tripled during Sing Song weekend in past years.
“It’s not the hardest thing in the world, but it can get hectic,” Rodriguez said.
The most popular menu item includes the half-cow on a white bun, which they start prepping as early as Tuesday.
“We prep quite a bit of meat,” Rodriguez said. “Our prep team pretty much doubles their work during that week.”
Wholly Cow also sees increased sales during Wildcat Week, he said.