COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In less than 24 hours, one of the biggest sports festivals in the country – the Arnold Sports Festival – will kick off four days of competition around the city.
Employees at Thurman Café in German Village have been beefing up Arnold fans for years, and expect more of the same this year.
The restaurant’s owner has been preparing the staff and ordering extra products in anticipation of this weekend’s crowds.
“We’re going to be getting deliveries, like, daily, you know,” said Thurman Café spokesperson Aaron Suclescy. “We’ll get a delivery tomorrow. We’ll get a delivery Friday. We’ll have to set up a special delivery for the beef on Saturday as well.”
The long lines expected at the restaurant will be worth the wait and attendees and competitors frequent the restaurant so much that they were the inspiration for the restaurant’s signature springtime burger: The Thurmanator.
“They’re like, ‘We want extra protein, so give me that Thurman burger. Add another patty, add bacon, add more cheese,’” Suclescy said describing the dish.
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend and participate in the event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and other locations across the city.
“Our restaurants will be filled,” said Dan Williams, chief sales officer for Experience Columbus. “Our hotels will be filled, and they’ll be doing a number of the sports festival itself. So, it’s a big economic driver for central Ohio, but a huge economic driver for Columbus.”
Suclescy said the Arnold usually kicks off the restaurant’s busy spring season, and it’ll be ready to feed fans before and after events.
“We expect to go through about 1,400 potatoes this weekend,” he said. “That’ll build the bicep, and then about a ton of beef.”
Some Arnold fans have already begun piling into the city, with events officially getting underway with weightlifting at 8 a.m. Thursday.