FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship kicked off Thursday night with an opening ceremony in Fayetteville.

Seven thousand spectators are expected to attend the races over the weekend. Micky Porter said as soon as she found out the championship was in Fayetteville she made reservations to visit.

“We watch these people all the time on TV and now we get to actually see them live, its pretty awesome,” Porter said.

The races are an international event and will be a huge boost for Fayetteville, said Hazel Hernandez with Experience Fayetteville.

“Seeing all of these teams come in is so exciting and knowing that there are even more teams all around Fayetteville and they’ll be competing this weekend and we’re just excited to have them and the opportunity to show Fayetteville off,” Hernandez said.

The races will be at Centennial Park, which Porter is excited to see for herself.

“We hear such wonderful things about the venue here in Fayetteville so its exciting to see this area become a big cyclo-cross area,” Porter said.

This is only the second time in the championship’s history the race has been held in the United States.