CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The first weekend in May could feel like Corpus Christi has come the closest thing to a “normal weekend” since the pandemic began.
“Everyone is so excited to be out and about,” said Brett Oetting, President and CEO of Visit Corpus Christi. The bump begins to go away, the hug comes back. “
A number of events are held in downtown Corpus Christi, particularly in the sports, entertainment, and arts districts.
“It’s kind of like getting back to normal,” said Brayla Thomas, director of marketing and sales at Hurricane Alley Waterpark. But this year things are starting to open up again, people are starting to come out. Definitely a good thing. “
Especially the Buc Days last 10 days and everything that goes with it. Professional bull riding, rodeo, carnival, and the Wings Over South Texas Air Show are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
The Hurricane Alley was also noticeable. Previously only open on three weekends, but Thomas said there were an average of more than 1,000 people a day on those weekends.
“Last season was kind of a fight for us just to get the numbers with Covid (-19) and all that,” she said. “But this year has definitely started really well.”
Nearby, they set up the Harbor Playhouse to debut the first auditioned play since the pandemic began. That will take place on the weekends through May.
Local bars and breweries continue to book talent for performances, such as the Brewster Street Ice House, which has an act every day on the weekend.
What does all of this mean for the Corpus Christi business? For starters, Oetting said that the downtown hotels are all fully booked this weekend.
“Visit Corpus Christi just hosted our annual hospitality event and awards ceremony,” he said. “We had 256 people in a sold-out ballroom. Then you have Buc Days starting today. Hotels are sold out. Attractions have record visits.
It’s very exciting to see it all come back and everyone who comes here is spending money. And that money brings sales tax dollars into the church. So we’re going to start rebuilding everything that happened to Covid (-19) by letting all of these visitors come here. “
Oetting added that this boom started back in March during the spring break. Every weekend has gradually gotten better for downtown business. This March, 59,000 more hotel rooms were booked than last March.
Oetting said this weekend is a building block for Memorial Day, the start of summer. Oetting believes the city will see economic numbers like 2019 and better. As the pandemic nears the end of the tunnel, he said people want to let go and take the vacation they couldn’t last year. Some may want outdoor activities, others may want to fly, which is why Corpus Christi is the ideal destination.
Rounding out the weekend, if you haven’t got enough, the Hooks take Whataburger Field on Tuesday for the first time in over a year.