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Blue-White weekend kicks off Friday in Happy Valley

Reported By: Erin Calandra
Written By: Marc Stempka

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State University football fans are expected to pack into Happy Valley for a weekend of fun and football as the annual Blue-White weekend gets underway.

This year's weekend, with the highlight being the annual inner-squad football scrimmage, has added buzz, especially with it being Nittany Lions fans first chance to see what new head coach James Franklin plans to do with this team.

University Park crews spent the week preparing for the crowds, with the weather expected to be sunny and mild, but there are some changes this year, including the cancellation of the blue-white carnival.

Penn State Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson said the carnival, usually set up outside of Beaver Stadium, won't take place this year due to natural gas pipeline construction near the stadium, budget concerns and other campus events.

Despite this year's cancellation, there are plans for it to return in 2015, Nelson said.

But, the main attraction will remain the football game. PSU alum Wasyl Halczenko, said the weekend is a family event for him, and plans to bring his grandkids.

"We bring them on campus, we show them the school and we go to the creamery," Halczenko said. "We're anxious to see what the team looks like."

Prior to the game, a street fair will begin on Curtin Road at 9 a.m., which includes vendors, food booths and activities for kids.

The Nittany Lions then arrive at 10:10 a.m. to get ready for the game, with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m.

"Fans can see the team come in, [and see] Coach Franklin get off the blue bus for the first time," Nelson said.

Franklin has said he hopes for 80,000 fans to be on hand for the game, which would be a recording breaking number.

On Sunday, the annual Paterno Family Beaver Stadium run/walk benefiting the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania will start at 11 a.m. at Medlar Field with the race ending inside Beaver Stadium.

This is the fifth year for the event, which includes a 3-mile run and a 1-mile walk. Registration for the event starts at 7:30 a.m. at Medlar Field.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times