GREEN BAY - Organizers of the Tall Ships Festival say downtown Green Bay has changed since they were last here in 2010.
“That was all under construction or kind of like we never knew what was going to happen there,” said Patti Lock with Tall Ships America. “It was the old Younkers and now look what's over there. They have a beautiful setup. The town is evolving.”
60,000 people are expected to attend the Tall Ship Festival throughout the weekend. Downtown leaders hope those people will also take notice of the area's development.
“Schreiber is under construction, that's a $70 million office development, the city deck is now completed and businesses like Hagemeister have really only been open a year,” said Jeff Mirkes of Downtown Green Bay, Inc.
So far, people have been exploring beyond the festival. Through the next three days, the downtown area is expected to bring in more than $4 million.
“It's very nice and its improving all the time,” said Marrianne Bigalk of Weston. “It changes just like the weather.”
The hope is people like Bigalk come back, even when the ships are not downtown. Mirkes says big events like Tall Ships and even smaller weekly ones are held for that reason.
“I think gone are the days that people come to downtown Green Bay just a handful of times per year,” said Mirkes.
While the people might come back, the Tall Ships won't return for another three years. It puts even more pressure on the area to impress this weekend.
“And the weather is going to be gorgeous so come on down and take advantage of it,” said Lock.
Downtown leaders say the area will look even more different when the festival returns. Officials say more than $100 million of development is currently in the works.
First responders helped ring in the holidays at the 45th annual Howard-Suamico Christmas Parade.
Christmas is just two and half weeks away, and kids and families are getting into the holiday spirit.
Single digit temps around the area caused problems in the Fox Valley Saturday morning.
The frigid temperatures forced some area communities to cancel their weekend Christmas celebrations. But New London braved the cold for its annual Holiday of Wonder Parade.
Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's all of the injuries, but many Packers fans are saying "no thanks," to this weekend's Packers game.
With only a little snow on the ground in places, snowmobilers are ready for more. In the Lakewood area, trails are not yet open, but clubs are gearing up for an early start to the season.