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Robust events center strong plus for Bemidji

Two numbers stick out from the weekend.

No, the numbers aren't the final score of an NCAA basketball game. Nor the final score of the Bemidji Axemen game (boo Nebraska) on Friday night.

The numbers are 500,000 and 54 million.

On Saturday night, before the Jake Owen concert, the Sanford Center announced that Payton Lund of Roseau, Minn., was the 500,000 customer of the events center since it opened its doors in October 2010. Payton received a bevy of gifts from the center and some local businesses.

The second number is 54 million. As in $54 million.

That's the estimated economic impact the Sanford Center's had for Bemidji in those three-plus years, according to a release from the center. That's money not only being spent at the center, but also at local hotels, restaurants and other businesses. People visiting Bemidji and spending their money; people like Payton Lund and her friends. That's good for all of us.

We've detailed support for the Sanford Center in this space before; noting the fact that the center, which receives money from the city to cover deficits, plans to reduce those deficits further in 2014. That, too, is good for all of us.

Sanford Center executives said this past weekend was one of the busiest ever at the arena. There was another successful showing for the Bemidji Axemen on Friday night, as well as the Enchanted Tea Party family event and the Balladino music concert on Saturday. That was topped off with a strong turnout to see one of the hot, new acts in country music, Jake Owen, on Saturday night.

Having a robust entertainment venue improves the quality of life for all of us in Bemidji and the surrounding area. The industry is fickle, however, with ups and downs just part of the business. But more weekends like this past one and those ups and downs will become fewer and farther between.

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