Saturday morning's grand opening of Metro light rail will be celebrated all along the 20-mile track, from central Phoenix to Mesa. Once the trains are in service, people will have the opportunity to ride end to end for free.
The East Valley's fun begins at 9:30 a.m., with the arrival of a train at the new Tempe Transportation Center. And 30 minutes later, Metro pulls into Mesa's lone station on the city's west side.
For more information, including details of the Phoenix festivities, visit www.valleymetro.org.
In all, six Metro stations in the East Valley will host parties. Westward from the track's eastern end, they are:
Sycamore Transit Center (Sycamore & Main Street): "It All Starts Here!" is the theme to this celebration, presented by Salt River Project and the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau. The first 500 people to arrive will receive free commemorative T-shirts.
Following the 10 a.m. opening ceremony, there will be musical performances (headliner Grand Funk Railroad takes the stage at 3:30 p.m.), a classic car show, a kids' zone and public safety displays.
Also there will be Valley Metro Link, high-capacity buses that will run from Sycamore station to Superstition Springs Mall from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Price 101 Freeway/Apache Boulevard: The city's Tardeada Advisory Board hosts a celebration of Hispanic culture. Mariachis will entertain as visitors peruse crafts or nibble on authentic foods, including free coffee, hot chocolate and Mexican breads.
Dorsey Drive/Apache Boulevard: Tempe's public safety personnel will be featured here, with displays of a firetruck and the police department's command van. At 2 p.m., Phoenix Suns player Leandro Barbosa makes an appearance.
Tempe Transportation Center (Veterans Way/College Avenue): The city wants you to go green when coming for the 9:30 a.m. grand opening celebration, titled "Destination Tempe." For example, the Tempe Bicycle Action Group will operate a free bicycle valet service from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Keeping with the theme of environmentalism, there will be a farmer's market and a "Green Scene" tent, where vendors will showcase their green products. Also, tours of the new certified green Tempe Transportation Center will be given.
Other tents include: Dig through Time (archeological exhibits and hands-on displays), Light Rail (meet Metro's contractors and artists), Urban Experience (downtown development and businesses), Train to Tempe (events and entertainment), Kids on the Go (interactive, transportation-related activities, plus a Wii display) and Transportation (ride a Segway or check out a Zip car).
Musicians will play all day, with local favorites Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers taking the stage at 4:15 p.m.
The fun comes to a rousing conclusion at 5:30 p.m. with a fireworks show.
Gray Development, Avenue Communities and Aloft Tempe sponsor this station's celebration.
Mill Avenue/Third Street: Welcome to the "Hayden Ferry/Mill Avenue Experience," presented by local developer SunCor. Step into the urban oasis that is Mill Avenue, which offers a wide variety of culture, entertainment and dining options.
Priest Drive and Washington Street: At "Papago Park Celebration," Salt River Project joins the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden for exhibits and fun things to do and learn.