PHILADELPHIA. Looking for something fun to do this weekend? As long as you don’t mind the traffic, check out the Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field.
The top high school and college track and field stars in the country highlight the first two days, with world-class Olympians stealing the show on Saturday. The Penn Relays is the oldest track meet in the country, dating back to 1895, but it’s much more than just a sporting event.
1. People watching. Forget The Gallery, this is better than a UN meeting. There are 19,540 athletes from 34 states and 19 countries entered. Factor in hundreds of thousands track fans, along with Ramen-noodle eating college students, and you’re looking at a party sure to keep the University City bars packed.
2. Bolt of lightning. Coordinators are expecting 50,000 fans on Saturday to watch the world’s fastest man — Usain Bolt — compete in the USA vs. the World 4×100-meter relay. But if that isn’t enough to induce track fever, then consider the Penn Relays have had gold medalists in every Olympics except 1980.
3. Flags of our fathers. This is the closest you’ll get to experiencing Jamaica without buying a plane ticket. Green-and-yellow flags dot the stands; reggae music blares down alleys and streets; and authentic Caribbean fare — coconut water, plantain chips, jerk chicken — is served out of tents and vans.