The Elkhart Grand Prix is officialy under way

Right now roads are blocked and it's a high-speed chase. The good news: Downtown Elkhart is happy to see it, especially business owners bracing for a big economic boom.

this event draws thousands from around the country.

These go-karters started racing tonight.

Last year they attracted 15,000 people This year the city is expecting to see even more fans.

“They do tight corners and squealing tires, a little rubbing, just overall a lot of fun, a lot of fun,” said Jeanne Kern, who owns The Vine. “Good people, a win for Elkhart.”

“It’s a great thing,” said Levon Johnson, President/CEO of the Elkhart Chamber of commerce. “You can be in almost any part of the city and hear the engines going. It almost reminds me of being down in Indianapolis during the 500 week.”

Setup for an event like the Elkhart Grand Prix is no simple task. Crews worked all day to turn downtown into a speedway.

But city leaders say it’s all worth it for an opportunity to showcase everything Elkhart.

“Downtown offers just about anything for everyone,” said Johnson. “Whether it’s opportunities to get into art galleries, obviously restaurants, the boutiques, different retail places down here. Like I said, there’s really something for everyone who comes down.”

And those businesses could see thousands of visitors between races.

“I think this year will be even better because last year being the first year some people didn’t get on board. And I think this year will just even do better,” said Kern.

Even with that smaller crowd, Kern made a lot of money.

“Overall for the weekend it was probably two times a normal weekend.”

These races are free and open to the public. They’ll keep going until Sunday afternoon.

There’s lots of other stuff to do too — musical acts, food and fireworks. There’s a little something for everyone.

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