|When it comes to fun-filled weekends, it doesn't get much better than this. Thousands are descending on Pleasanton for rallies, swim meets, wrestling tournaments and bicycle rides this weekend, with more coming in another week.
They follow the 8,000 car-loads of .classic car enthusiasts who were at the Goodguys show last weekend at the fairgrounds, spilling out into local restaurants, gas stations and hotels where they provided economic perks for local businesses and eateries. If finding a table at Strizzi's or Tully's or McDonald's was a problem last Saturday, the estimated 5,000-10,000 visitors in town this weekend could make our city and its amenities even more crowded--and profitable.
* The Pleasanton Seahawks swim club is hosting the four-day Far Western Short Course Championship Meet, with 160 teams and 1,200 swimmers participating from 10 states as far away as Virginia and Louisiana, and Canada. Before the meets, in the evenings and during downtimes, families will shop, dine and visit stores and restaurants downtown, in neighborhood centers and at Stoneridge Shopping Center. Already, many hotels are filled. Seven of them have been designated official swim meet hosts, offering shuttle service for guests to the aquatic center and back.
* The Cinderella Classic is sold out for its 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 65-mile ride Saturday starting and ending at the fairgrounds, with several hundred bicyclists riding through Pleasanton, the Livermore Valley wine country, San Ramon Valley and, for the more ambitious, to the top of Mt. Diablo. Pleasanton, which works with the group to dedicate traffic lanes in Vineyard Avenue and other thoroughfares for the cyclists and posts police patrols, is a favorite for the Cinderella group because of safety, reasonably flat terrain and plenty of restaurants and refreshment stops along the route. Like the Seahawks, the group has arranged special rates at local hotels for those who spend the weekend here.
* The Pleasanton Parent Teacher Association sponsored a rally at Amador Valley High School Friday afternoon for labor leaders, teachers and politicians to protest Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed state budget cuts for education. About 250 attended the event, held in front of the Amador Theater.
* The Farmers' Market, an always-crowded Saturday morning attraction in downtown Pleasanton, will likely have more customers as parents take a break from the swim meet to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables for their day-long stays at the aquatic center and adjacent Amador Community Park for the Far Western event.
* Hart Middle School will play host to between 800 and 1,000 wrestlers Saturday from over 20 middle schools across the Bay Area. Expect parking issues around Willow Road and Hopyard Road.
* Next weekend, the Tri-Valley Master Swim Team, a member of the U.S. Masters Swimming organization which serves those 18 and older, will host the Pacific Masters Championship at the aquatic center, from Friday, April 11, to Sunday, April 13. About 800 swimmers are expected for the three-day event, including spouses and families.
Pleasanton has had problems in the past handling large crowds. This year, host organizations are working with city officials, police, traffic engineers and businesses to make surd that everyone who comes here, whether for a day or a long weekend, enjoys their stay and comes back soon.
"These events represent huge economic benefits for local businesses and all of us who live here," said Dave Culver, the city's finance director.
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.