Waco braces for a wild weekend

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Tens of thousands of people are streaming into Waco for a weekend full of events from Spring at the Silos to the first rounds of the regional NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Baylor.

(Photo by Paul J. Gately)

As many as 50,000 people are expected to turn out for the Spring at the Silos event, alone.

“They used to call downtown Waco brain dead, but now, it's anything but. I've grown up here, went to Baylor University years ago, and I've never seen it like this,” Kelly Realtors owner Stewart Kelly said Friday.

Some streets are closed because of the Magnolia event.

Parking is at a premium and crowds of people are on the streets.

An additional wrinkle Saturday is the temporary move of the Waco Downtown Farmers Market to the parking lot across from the McLennan County Courthouse, which will mean even fewer parking spaces than usual.

But Spring at the Silos isn't the only attraction packing area hotels and restaurants this weekend.

At the Ferrell Center, the Lady Bears are starting tournament play at home for the sixth time in seven years.

Baylor faces Texas Southern at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and LSU and Cal play at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The second-round game is Monday.

The Baylor baseball team hosts West Virginia for a three-game series from Friday through Sunday.

The Heart of Texas Airshow at Texas State Technical College, featuring the precision U.S. Air Force flight team the Thunderbirds is another big draw this weekend.

The Waco Disc Golf Championship, the Illectric Music Festival at McLane Stadium, and the Texas High School girls’ powerlifting state championships at the Extraco center are also expected to draw crowds of visitors.

Jimmy Moreno manages Sic Em Bears Delivery on Austin Avenue says the crowds may be an inconvenience, but he says overall the events are a plus for the city.

"It’s making Waco bigger. It's putting us on the map with a lot of people coming down here from out of town"