Dozens of York County venues are getting ready to host an international event that will bring first responders from all over the world into southcentral Pennsylvania.
The 2014 Can-Am Police-Fire Games opens this weekend with opening ceremonies from 6-8 p.m. Sunday at the York Expo Center Grandstand.
When the eight-day competition ends Sunday, July 20, about 50 events will have been held at 28 locations throughout York County.
Organizers anticipate more than 3,000 athletes will compete.
The Can-Am Games, which display the athletic abilities of first responders from Canada and America, are expected to yield a $1.1 million direct economic impact to the county and an overall benefit of $1.9 million, according to the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Our hotels, restaurants and retailers really stand to benefit from this event," said Anne Druck, president of the tourism bureau.
Those who wish to get in on the action can purchase tickets for the opening ceremonies at www.yorkcanamgames.com. The cost is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and younger.
Gates for the opening ceremonies will open at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors will find an Olympic-style event, including a lighting of the torch by a Make-A-Wish recipient.
The games: During the following seven days, the Can-Am Games will include an EMS skills competition at the York County Fire School in Manchester Township, weightlifting events at York Barbell Company and swimming at the Graham Aquatic Center.
It's the first time the event has been held in Pennsylvania or on the East Coast.
"This has a multi-faceted impact for our community. There's a significant economic impact, it benefits Make-A-Wish and is also helps to build our capacity to host future sports events," Druck said.
During the last few years, the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau has worked to attract several sporting events to the county, finding they pack the best economic punch, she said.
For example, the bureau announced last week it will host the USA Wrestling Cadet National Duals at the York Expo Center during the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2017, bringing a $5.5 million economic impact to York County.
In those same three summers, the county will host the Keystone State Games – Pennsylvania's largest youth sports tournament. Those games are expected to bring $42 million to the county.
The Can-Am Games fit in with the bureau's plan to bring in more tourists and money to the York area.
"These games are a real feather in our cap and shows our ability and capacity to host sporting events," Druck said.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.yorkcanamgames.com.
—Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.