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PGA tourney in Snoqualmie starts next week

SNOQUALMIE - Snoqualmie will soon be awash with golf enthusiasts as the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic (BGSC) gets underway at the Tournayers Club (TPC) on Snoqualmie Ridge from Aug. 15-21.

Local business owners are preparing for what they hope will be a windfall as 50,000 visitors tramp through the Valley.

The crowd will be required to park in a satellite parking area in the Snoqualmie Ridge business park and take a shuttle bus to the club house. Snoqualmie Police Department Chief Jim Schaffer, who is coordinating the logistics of the event, said attendees will be bused right past the Ridge business district on their way back to the parking area.

"The return route will take them right past all the businesses up Center Boulevard. They theoretically could get back in their cars, drive right over and partake."

While Ridge businesses cannot display signs on the Snoqualmie Parkway, most are expecting an influx of customers during the event and making special efforts to attract them.

Bibo Coffee Co. is aiming to have a line of gelato on board by the time the event starts.

"It's a little scary and a little exciting," said Brandon Wright, owner of Bibo Coffee. "I wouldn't be surprised if everyone is busier. Every time there's an event up there everyone is effected dramatically."

Sonya Benson Stevens, owner of Uncle Si's Pizza, said she's "staffing up" for the event.

"I'm sure it will be busier with more people in the area. I think it will be good for Snoqualmie in general," Benson Stevens said.

Mike's Cascade Grill will be opening early Aug. 15-19. The restaurant on the Ridge will open at 9 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. and will expand evening hours if necessary. The restaurant will continue to open at 8 a.m. on the weekend of Aug. 20-21. The Grill is also expanding its Anheuser-Busch product line to tie in with two BGSC sponsors, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra.

"We're very excited," said Mike Brown, owner of the Grill. "We'll be well staffed and ready to go for a busy, busy week."

The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce will have an information booth set up at the event and will distribute brochures detailing the offerings of local businesses and maps and guides for the area. The chamber is currently asking businesses to let them know what they'd like to have included in the brament Plochure, whether it be menu items, coupons, specials or merchandise and services.

The chamber also has tips for businesses on how to welcome and attract the onslaught of visitors.

"We want to accommodate them and give them ideas of things to do, places to eat," said Lisa Schaffer, executive director of the chamber. "We're encouraging businesses to dress up windows, put flowers out - anything to create a really welcoming atmosphere."

The city's public safety department has also been working hard to keep the largest event in Snoqualmie safe and organized.

"We're right on track with the event and things should be ready for the 15th. EMS [paramedics] and fire are still constructing the sky boxes, and the bleachers should be completed by the 12th," Jim Schaffer said.

So far, 71 players have committed to the BGSC, including Gary Player and Jim Colbert. In addition, Hale Irwin, the PGA Champions Tour's all-time money leader, just signed on. Irwin finished first on the Champions Tour twice in 2005 and is currently ranked third on the tour money leader list. Organizers expect that a few more players may yet participate.

In its first year, the BGSC is sponsored by Boeing, Wells Fargo, Lumbermens, the Washington Athletic Club and the Seattle Seahawks. The Heart Institute at Virginia Mason is the tournament's beneficiary.

The BGSC is the newest addition to the PGA Champions Tour and the first PGA tour competition at the Jack Nicklaus-designed TPC. All three rounds of the BGSC will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19, 20 and 21, from 3-5:30 p.m. The Golf Channel is channel 69 on most local cable networks.

* Visit www.greaterseattlechampionsclassic.com for tickets.

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