Two large group events that collectively were slated to bring more than $3 million in visitor spending to Springfield have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The larger of the two events is Wing Ding 42, an annual motorcycle rally by the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. The rally was scheduled to return June 30-July 4 to Springfield after more than 20 years.
Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau officials said in a news release the event was expected to bring more than 8,000 visitors to the city. Those visitors were projected to inject $2 million into the local economy.
"We truly appreciate the help and support from the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and the city ... in what truly was a difficult decision for us to make,” said GWRRA President Abel Gallardo, in the release. “We look forward to the possibility of bringing the event back to Springfield in the next year or two."
When the Wing Ding event was last held in Springfield in 1999, attendance was around 13,000 people, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
The Phoenix-based Gold Wing association is a social organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing motorcycles. It has more than 60,000 members, according to its website.
The CVB also announced the cancellation of the National Street Rod Association's Mid-America Street Rod Nationals. The event had been scheduled May 22-24, according to the release.
Held in Springfield for more than 25 years, the event this year was projected to bring 6,000 visitors and $1.1 million in spending. The event is expected to return next year.
The CVB and the Springfield Sports Commission have received word since mid-March that more than 40 booked events were canceled due to the pandemic. The booked events were slated to generate more than 40,000 room nights at local hotels and add $26 million to the local economy, according to the release.
“The impact on the economy is tremendous,” said Tracy Kimberlin, president and CEO of the CVB, which manages the Springfield Sports Commission, in the release. “Not only are hotels affected but restaurants, attractions, meeting venues, retailers and many other businesses have lost income.”
Earlier this month, the CVB reported local hotels hit "rock bottom" during the first full week of April, when occupancy dropped to 21.2% in properties across the city and cumulative room revenue fell 76.4% to $547,091.
Retro Metro changed ownership; print shop Grafpros expanded to Mount Vernon; and the new headquarters and third full-service branch in Springfield for Multipli Credit Union opened.