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The Weekend Santa Clara Rocked

The Weekend Santa Clara Rocked

Santa Clara rocked for Super Bowl weekend, beginning with the free, city-sponsored Super Community Celebration all day and into the evening February 6 at Santa Clara University. The sun was out and all the super stars were aligned for a perfect day-and you didn’t even have to be a football fan to enjoy it.

A Super Community pep rally featured performances by local bands, the 49ers Gold Rush cheerleaders, the Oakland Raiderettes and the Santa Clara Vanguard. Fans enjoyed interviews, autographs and photo ops with former NFL greats like Cliff Branch, John Taylor, Keena Turner, Eric Reid, Ricky Waters and Eric Wright.

Santa Clara fourth grader Ryan Hauck got 14 signatures on his football, but his friend, 5th grader Aden Dean, had to make do with signatures on an event ticket and a couple slips of paper.

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“I’m going to put my football on a stand and keep it as an antique,” says Ryan.

At 1 p.m., sports and entertainment celebrities teamed up with Wounded Warrior veterans for the 15th annual Celebrity Sweat Flag Football Challenge, hosted by Eric the Trainer, at SCU’s Stevens Stadium. The game, which benefitted the Wounded Warrior Project, pitted retired NFL quarterback Doug Flutie against Washington Redskin quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Welterweight boxing champion Victor Ortiz, rapper Ludacris, Washington Redskins defensive end Jean-Francois, former NFL running back Tony Dorsett and retired Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin were among the team stars. Check the Celebrity Sweat website (www.csweat.com) for the TV schedule to view the game.

“We had the best time today. It gave us the NFL experience with a celebrity, and he was so kind and amazing,” says Suzanne Bauer, whose granddaughter, Sammie, got her picture taken with Irvin.

Throughout the day, local bands performed on a community stage encircled by gourmet food trucks and center tables in a beer and wine garden. Elsewhere, kids enjoyed action activities.

“This is a real bonus for the community,” says Santa Clara resident Katie Lippold, attending the celebration with her husband, Scotty, and daughter, Bailey. “It’s great for kids. It has a family atmosphere and things for everybody to do.”

Adults and children lined up for unique activities provided by Kaiser Permanente, one of several Super Community Celebration sponsors. Some donned special goggles and earphones to immerse themselves in the virtual-sometimes dizzying-reality of a football training session. Adults stepped on an Omron Body Fat Analyzer to send a weak electrical current through themselves to determine their body mass index.

“People can use these statistics to motivate themselves to be healthier,” says KP’s Dr. Marty Wong, one of many community volunteers assisting at the celebration, which drew an estimated 10,000. The well-organized day ended on a loud note with Huey Lewis and the News jamming to the crowd at Stevens Stadium, followed by fireworks at 8 p.m.

“I had a real sense of the community of Santa Clara today. Everyone was friendly,” says Santa Clara resident Jon Drennan, his service dog at his side.

“I’m extremely proud of the men and women in my department who have made personal sacrifices-working long hours, all dedicated to making a safe environment for the largest sporting event in the world. Other departments have made similar sacrifices,” says Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers, overseeing security.

“This was an amazing feat to bring the community together. It took over a year of planning,” says city councilmember Debi Davis, chair of the marketing committee, which promotes the city.

“We’re making the city proud and showcasing to the world what the city of Santa Clara is all about. We have a fantastic, supportive community,” says Sellers.

“This is a great way to pull everyone together. We know better than to drive in the traffic to San Francisco today,” says Santa Clara resident Karen Gumin, lined up with her husband, Glenn, and son, Drew, to have free family photos taken against a background of Levi’s Stadium, where on a gorgeous Super Bowl Sunday, the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24 to 10.

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