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Atlanta Braces for Big Labor Day Weekend | News

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Atlanta Braces for Big Labor Day Weekend
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ATLANTA -- A weekend off is about to go on the books in big numbers. Labor Day Weekend has become one of Atlanta's busiest holidays. Several big events will bring in thousands of visitors and more than $60 million. Here's a rundown of this weekend's biggest events:

DragonCon events run Friday through Monday, including a parade down Peachtree on Saturday at 10 a.m. A Georgia State University study showed the event brought in $25 million in 2008. About 30,000 people are expected to attend this year.

The Decatur Book Festival will draw more than 300 authors this year. The biggest name: Jonathan Franzen, who graced the cover of Time Magazine. He'll be launching his new novel, Freedom, at the event. The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the US.

Black Gay Pride Weekend is billed as the world's largest pride celebration. Festivities began Wednesday and continue through Sunday. They include a film festival, fashion show and interfaith service.

The Atlanta Motor Speedway kicks off a weekend of racing, plus concerts with Drivin' and Cryin' and Colt Ford. AMS boats 101,000 seats. It's a huge weekend for NASCAR fans, many of whom camp on the grounds all weekend.

The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech both start their football seasons with home games on Saturday. UGA plays Louisiana-Lafayette at 12:21 p.m. Georgia Tech kicks off with South Carolina State at 1 p.m.

The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff pits NO. 16 LSU against No. 18 North Carolina at the Georgia Dome Saturday Night. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. Tailgating and ESPN's College GameDay Live start at Centennial Park at 9 a.m. Last year, the kickoff drew 74,954 fans to the Georgia Dome. That's the 4th largest football attendance in Dome history! Organizers say the event had a $29.1 million economic impact, including $1.2 million in direct tax revenues.

Celebrate Freedom is Atlanta's largest free one-day concert. A dozen Christian music artists and tens of thousands of fans are expected at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta on Saturday. The festivities, sponsored by 104.7 The Fish, begin at 10 a.m. The final group, Switchfoot, takes the stage at 9:30 p.m.

Ludacris' LudaDay Celebrity Basketball game will bring lots of big names to Morehouses' Forbes Arena on Sunday, including Chris Paul, Kenyon Martin, Ron Artest, Josh Powell, Brandon Jennings, Steve Smith, Devin Harris, Tyrese, Keri Hilson, Kelly Rowland, Lance Gross and of course, Ludacris. The Atlanta rapper created LudaDay Weekend as a way to give back to the community. Tickets to game are $10. Tip off is at 5 p.m.

The first US 10K Classic race don't begin until 7:15 a.m. Monday, but the free Family Festival runs all weekend at Galleria Gardens. That's also the location for the Kids Classic Races at 11 a.m. Saturday. Monday's 10K stretches from Cumberland Mall, up Cobb Parkway, to Six Flags White Water.

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