DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A competition that brings thousands of people to the University of Dayton Arena is back for the first time in two years.

The second weekend of the WGI Sport of the Arts World Championship runs Thursday through Saturday with the wind and precession competitions.

“It’s the athleticism of any Olympic event combined with the pageantry of a Broadway stage,” WGI Director of Operations Bart Woodley said.

The event returned to UD Arena after a two-year hiatus caused by COVID-19. 2020’s event was canceled and 2021’s event was held virtually.

“Just the resiliency of all of these groups to persevere through this pandemic and come out on the other side swinging and ready for competition is so, so exciting,” Woodley said.

The last time the event was held in 2019, it brought in 68,000 people and an estimated $24 million in economic impact to the Miami Valley.

“Every hotel, every restaurant, everybody knows who WGI is when we’re in town,” Woodley said.

This year, the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) predicts the event to be a little smaller than in the past, with 55,000 people estimated to attend.

“We still know that this is a significant event for our community, it’s big business for our community,” Dayton CVB President and CEO Jacquelyn Powell said.

Powell said the return of WGI plus the first four, high school basketball tournaments and upcoming events, are the boost Dayton needed after the pandemic hurt the hospitality industry.

“It’s great business coming back to our hotels and our restaurants to the venues, our attractions see some business from this as well, and of course, they spend money on retail and other things when they’re here in our community,” Powell said.

The 2022 World Championships will mark the 35th year that WGI has been hosted in Dayton.