Fans from across Indiana and the nation are flocking to Kokomo Speedway this weekend for three nights of sprint car racing. The influx of bodies could mean increased activity at local businesses and area attractions.
Two women, one from Iowa and the other Kansas, said they are in Kokomo for their second Kokomo Smackdown. This time they are planning to visit some of the things that make Kokomo special.
“We want to get out and see the town and meet the people,” said Julie Ripperger, Kansas City. “[We want to] see what the shops have to offer and hit the local restaurants. We don’t like the franchise stuff.”
Greater Kokomo Convention and Visitors Bureau distributed 400 visitor guides at the Speedway’s gift shop and ticket windows to entice out-of-town visitors to see more of the community.
Ripperger said people were jealous when they learned she and traveling companion Laura Archer had been to the Smackdown.
“The town is cool and the people are very welcoming,” she said. “We’ll keep coming back for years to come.”
Archer, Knoxville, Iowa, said as they were driving to Kokomo they talked about visiting some of the local attractions.
“Since I was driving, I saw a lot of things I hadn’t seen before,” she said. “We’re going to do some lunch and check out the stores.”
Many at the Speedway grounds indicated they weren’t planning to visit local museums or other attractions, but all intended to patronize local businesses and restaurants while in Kokomo.
Plainfield resident Ashley Dillon was at Kokomo Speedway for the first time, but she said she has driven through the community in the past.
Dillon was not aware of the local attractions.
“It would depend on the type of museum,” she said of a possible future visit. “Maybe [I’ll] go next year.”