HARTFORD -- It took 21 years but March Madness is once again running through downtown, and local business is thriving.
From the Catamounts to the Wildcats, fans from all over the country are flocking to Hartford ready to back their team.
On Pratt Street the energy was apparent as restaurants and bars opened their doors for the influx of business.
“This is a really exciting couple of days for Hartford," said Mayor Luke Bronin. "But I think also for the whole state of Connecticut, too.”
Bronin estimated around 45 thousand fans would come to downtown to enjoy the area during the first and second round games at the XL Center.
At 11 a.m. before the first ball had been tipped off, the bar at Max Downtown was already near capacity.
“We know we won’t get this every year but to have this is fabulous," said owner Steve Abrams of the tournament. "It’s like finding gold and it shows Hartford in such a great light.”