Dubuque (KWWL) -- The Iowa Winter Games kicked off this weekend in Dubuque with events including skating, hockey, basketball, cross country skiing and many others.
When the winter games begin, thousands of athletes compete in 17 sports in several cities, but Dubuque plays host to the most.
"It seems like it goes from like a ghost hotel here where we're staying, and all of the sudden, there's kids running up and down the halls, and in the swimming pool, and it's great to see the kids having such a great time," Executive Director Jim Hallihan said.
2,000 athletes were in town this weekend.
"This is the biggest group that comes together at one time, and of course, they're mostly kids, so with kids come parents and grandparents and friends," Hallihan said.
Hallihan says the estimated economic impact of the games on Dubuque is more than one and a half million dollars.
"We're probably going to hit some stores and shop. Might drive around a little bit, see what the town looks like. Get something to eat," Drs. Ron and Karla Cheney said.
Ron Cheney was in town to play indoor soccer and brought his wife and three kids along for the family's first trip to Dubuque.
"I was surprised at how much stuff is here. I didn't realize Dubuque was so big, and then even things like the sports complex here, the hockey. I didn't realize there was snow skiing, or that the Iowa Games is as big as it is," Karla Cheney said.
As the weekend's games wrapped up, Hallihan said he could see and hear the slow-down.
"By now, late Sunday afternoon, you're not hearing that noise. They sweep into town, and then take off again," Hallihan said.
Gone for now, but the goal for city leaders is to spark interest so people will keep coming back.
"We grabbed some of the touristy stuff to take with us, so we can plan stuff for the future!" Karla Cheney said.