Thater Races' change of scenery to boost downtown businesses

By Julianne Peixoto

August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 11:48 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Chris Thater Memorial Races have been held in and around Binghamton's Recreation Park for years, but this year it will take place in the heart of the city.

"The downtown businesses are now actually going to get the fruits of it, so it's kind of nice," said Galaxy Brewery bartender John Hagopian. "We are kind of in the forefront of where everything’s happening, the start-finish line is right here on State Street."

Businesses downtown have been preparing for the expected influx of customers coming from the races.

"We're hoping that this event will bring us some new patrons," said co-owner of Zona & Co. Grill Nicole Tulsey. "With the races, we'll have a lot more crowds coming, so we're open extra hours."

Zona's, which usually isn't open for lunch, will be opening at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.

But the change of scenery doesn't just affect local businesses.

"It's definitely going be a different course this year being downtown instead of in the park," said reigning Thater Memorial champion Luke Keough. "It's going to be a lot flatter and a lot faster, which should make it more exciting for the fans."

Races begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and continue throughout the weekend.

For a complete list of races and events, click HERE