Thousands Expected for UVA. Commencement

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

May 19, 2006

The University of Virginia was gearing up for it's commencement ceremonies Friday evening, and the event on Sunday is expected to bring a lot of out-of-towners to Charlottesville. Their visitors are welcome news to local businesses.

There will be more than 5,000 students graduating this weekend from the university, and they, of course, have families and friends coming to see the ceremony.

UVA says more than 30,000 people are expected to be visiting Charlottesville this weekend.

That makes it the biggest event of the year in town, in terms of the number of visitors.

Friday the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce said it is one of the busiest weekends for many local businesses, specifically hotels and restaurants.

"People coming for graduation at UVA is all good. It happens every year. It's a good thing every year," said Larry Banner, vice-president of the local chamber. "I hear that restaurants can be double the occupancy [on graduation weekend]. Certainly the hotels have been booked actually for months."

One out of every five graduates is from out of state, so there will be families from across the country visiting over the weekend.

As residents, the chamber said that traffic at the corner on Sunday will be very heavy, so if you can, avoid that area of town.

Governor Kaine will also be in town this weekend for the commencement ceremonies. He'll be delivering the commencement address on Sunday.

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