By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Downtown Sacramento streets were packed all weekend thanks to the first convention in the city in more than a year.

The planned remodel of the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center—combined with the pandemic—has left nearby restaurants struggling. This weekend, that all changed when the convention doors finally opened.

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Downtown Sacramento sidewalks were packed shoulder to shoulder.

“The evidence is clear. The people are here. Events do bring people to downtown Sacramento,” he said.

Delgado’s restaurant Mayahuel is a block away from the convention center. Around 10,000 people converged for a three-day SacAnime convention.

All attendees were required to wear masks.

“It actually feels good, to be able to come and everybody feels safe because everybody’s masked,” one attendee said.

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The $180 million renovation and expansion of the convention center was completed earlier this summer.

The timing of this long-awaited first convention in the building revolved around the comfort level of participants and the state’s covid reopening policies.

“We’re excited to be here we love SacAnime,” another attendee said.

The SacAnime convention was expected to bring $6 million to the region, including hotel rooms and restaurant tabs.

“It means a very normal day for a downtown restaurant that we haven’t had in years,” Delgado said.

The convention center has 28 more events booked for the remainder of the year.

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The next event is set for next Monday with 1,600 people attending.