Thousands pack downtown Indy for busy weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 25, 2016) -- Visit Indy is calling this weekend, “monumental”.

Senior Vice President Chris Gahl says with around 200,000 visitors expected in Indianapolis, this weekend is one of the five busiest of the year. From Friday to Sunday, there are twenty different large events drawing people in from across the nation.

On Saturday night alone, nearly one hundred thousand visitors are in Indianapolis.

The Justin Bieber concert at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse pulled in 15,000 of those people in town.

“Downtown Indy’s poppin’!” Fishers resident and self-described “Belieber” Alyson Reese. “It’s so busy today.”

Reese says as she and a friend explored downtown before the concert, they saw people walking everywhere.

Strolling through Monument Circle, they noticed a stage set up for the Olympic Committee’s “Road to Rio” event.

Farther west, more than 200 mayors convened for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga and the Dalai Lama are all in town for the conference, with some hosting their own events.

Hillary Clinton is speaking at the mayor’s conference on Sunday afternoon.

The Dalai Lama, who hosted an event at the state fairgrounds on Saturday, will speak at the mayor’s conference alongside Lady Gaga Sunday morning.

“It’s a really interesting opportunity to have this level of celebrities and important people in the city.

IMPD is tasked with helping keep politicians safe, monitoring crowds at all events and patrolling their usual 400 square miles.

Gahl says they and the rest of the city couldn’t be more prepared.

“We’ve been very deliberate and methodical over two years to make sure security is in place, promotion is in place, public safety is in place,” says Gahl.

Visitors who made last-minute plans to come to town found themselves without a place to stay.

“We have no room,” says Claire McNail. “We were going to stay in a hotel, but they’re all sold out because of all the events.”

For Brad Ball, who is in town to watch his daughter play in the USA Volleyball Girls National Championship, the crowd only present minor inconveniences.

Mostly, he says it proves to him, once again, how vibrant Indy is.

“This is one of my favorite cities,” says Ball. “I’ve been here for a bunch of Final Fours and I think this downtown is fantastic. I could live here very easily.”

Gahl says the city is using this busy weekend as a marketing tool.

Leaders of several conventions are in town to observe how the city handles all these events. Gahl hopes a successful, safe weekend will convince many to bring their convention business to the city.

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