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BUFFALO PUMPS IT UP; The long-anticipated first weekend of summer is full to bursting with activities

Western New York's largest one-day cycling ride. The country's biggest Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament. World-famous, five-time Grammy Award winning pop-punk performer Elvis Costello -- live at the harbor.

This weekend Buffalo is going to be bursting with activity.

Sure, there might be a little bit of rain around today. National Weather Service meteorologists were predicting a 40 percent chance of showers, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 60s today. Sunday should be dry, with comfortable temperatures in the lower 70s.

Mild temperatures and a little sprinkle here or there might work out just fine -- compared with a scorching humid day -- for the thousands of athletes turning out today for two major outdoor sporting events: the Ride for Roswell and the 2011 Gus Macker.

More than 7,500 cyclists are slated to hit the road this morning in support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and another 1,500 volunteers will be helping out throughout the Buffalo area.

The event, expected to raise more than $2.9 million for cancer research, includes an array of rides, from a three-mile family fun ride to a 100-mile trek, with most of them starting at Baird Point on the University at Buffalo's North Campus.

The routes will snake through parts of Buffalo and the towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Clarence, Newstead and Akron, organizers said.

Cyclists are instructed to be "mindful and respectful of traffic and property in the communities that welcome them," said John Hannon, chairman of the fitness club committee for the ride.

He asked drivers "to avoid parking in bike lanes, to proceed with caution if they know cyclists are in the area, and to follow the advice of the police, fire officials and riding marshals who donate their time to keep our routes safe and support this worthy cause. We depend on that cooperation between our participants and the Western New Yorkers who live on our routes."

Also getting going this morning will be the Gus Macker tournament. Thousands of amateur basketball players and fans will gather downtown for the two-day event, which concludes Sunday. A thousand games will be played each day. The games will be played on courts set up around Niagara Square and Delaware Avenue.

Last year, nearly 4,000 players on 966 teams participated. Buffalo has hosted the largest Gus Macker in the country for the last three years.

Registration for teams begins at 7 a.m. at the New Era Cap Co. headquarters, 160 Delaware Ave.

And tonight from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf, Elvis Costello and the Imposters will pump it up at the kickoff weekend of the 13th annual Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor concert series.

Tickets were still available as of Friday night. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster or for $20 at the gate. For more information, call 856-3150.

These are hardly the only events going on in the area on this busy weekend.

*The sixth annual Citybration will continue, with events going on throughout Buffalo, including an array of city tours by Discover Buffalo; a scavenger hunt at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St. from 1 to 5 p.m.; and a floating cocktail party at the waterfront.

*Citybration continues Sunday with a Cheerios breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon on the Central Wharf boardwalk to celebrate 70 years of the O-shaped cereal with a bowl of cereal and a view of the General Mills plant where they're made; walks and bike rides on the waterfront; and a festival at the wharf. For more information, go to citybration.com.

*The Delaware Avenue Neighborhood Tour of Homes will allow visitors to see the mansions of Delaware Avenue and Oakland Place. The tour begins at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, 641 Delaware Ave. Tickets are $25, $20 for members of the Roosevelt Site or Preservation Buffalo Niagara's Buffalo Tours, which are joint sponsors. Call 852-3300 for more information.

*In East Aurora, the Roycrofters At Large Association's Roycroft Summer Arts & Crafts Festival will run from from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Place.

More than 80 artisans, many of whom have earned the right through a juried process to use the double R mark on their works, will show off their crafts -- in clay, wood, basketry, stained glass, printmaking, jewelry and metalwork. For more information, go to www.ralaweb.com.

*Reinstein Woods is holding an Alien Invaders Family Fun Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Visitors will explore the world of invasive plants and animals and their effects on the ecosystem. The event is sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Reinstein Woods is located at 93 Honorine Drive, off Como Park Boulevard, in Depew. For more information, call 683-5959.

*West Seneca will be celebrating its annual Town of West Seneca Community Days. A parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. and a fireworks display will take place at dusk. The West Seneca Town Band will perform from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Lions Band Shell.

e-mail: mbecker@buffnews.com