Nearly 2,000 athletes visiting Meridian for competition

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Almost 2,000 track and field athletes from across Mississippi and Louisiana have descended on Meridian for the weekend. Mayor Percy Bland said having that many people in the area is an economic dream.

"You're talking about their parents, their aunts, their uncles and friends coming to see them, staying at our hotels, shopping at our restaurants and malls and that sort of thing. They're having to spend money for the items they're going to need this weekend and that's the kind of economic driver that pushes tourism dollars up in our city and state,” said Bland.

This is Meridian's first time to host the event. Bland encourages all the visitors to check out what Meridian has to offer, including restaurants, shopping and even The MAX.

"We’re so very proud to have USA Track and Field starting this partnership with Meridian. They did have the option of going to some other cities and they chose Meridian so we're very glad,” Bland said.

Meet director, Phillip Travis, said he's so grateful for how accommodating the city has been to everyone visiting.

"When I came back here I met the mayor and we were talking about hosting some meets and the mayor said let us try, let us bid for it,” said Travis.

Travis said he hopes to continue hosting the event in the city. He encourages everyone to come out and watch the events. All proceeds go towards the athletes’ road to the Junior Olympics.