The NFL lockout officially ended Monday, which means the Cincinnati Bengals are returning to Georgetown for their pre-season training camp.
At the end of last week, uncertainty lingered over when — or if — the camp would come to Georgetown this year. Residents were excited to welcome back the event, a late-summer mainstay for 15 years.
"I'm sure the city in general has just breathed a sigh of relief," Georgetown Mayor Everette Varney said. "If they didn't come, it would have been a huge hit for the college. Not only the revenue, but the recognition of having Georgetown's name on the national spotlight."
Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said owner Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to announce when the team plans to arrive at Georgetown and start training camp.
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Stacey Varney, the mayor's daughter and training camp director for Georgetown College, said the team will start moving practice and video equipment to Georgetown on Tuesday.
But no matter when they start, Georgetown will be ready for them.
"It is really an exciting time," said Jack Conner, executive director of Georgetown's Chamber of Commerce. "Only 32 cities get to host NFL training camps, and we're one of those. You get to see new people, and our restaurants and convenience stores do a lot of business. The downtown area comes alive, especially during the lunch hour."
The news made its way to Fava's Restaurant owner Jeni Gruchow, who is getting ready to make "Bengal Burgers," served with "curly tiger tail" fries.
"We only serve those when they're here," Gruchow said of the Bengals. "I'm just glad they're coming. We see a lot of business when they're here, so I'm excited, and excited for Georgetown.
"We usually see a pick-up (in business) the first week they're here."
Virtually all of the restaurants in the downtown area and around the city experience large economic boosts during the three weeks that the team is in town, Varney said.
Conner said the exciting atmosphere that's created during the Bengals' camp is irreplacable and makes an impression on visitors, which bodes well for the future.
"Because of the exposure, we do see people that come back because of the quaintness of the community," Conner said. "What we look for in the community is opportunity. What we have — now that they're coming — is opportunity to showcase our community, allow the fans to see the community. And it allows us to benefit economically."