Amherst businesses thrive during graduation weekend - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Amherst businesses thrive during graduation weekend

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Thousands of students are getting ready to cross the stage Friday at UMass Amherst.

Graduation weekend not only brings more people and more cars to Amherst, it also brings more business. 

For many of the businesses along Main Street, this is what makes it worth it. 

Barriers are up and the signs are posted across campus to let people know graduation weekend at UMass Amherst is here.

"This weekend is a great opportunity to see old alumni and a lot of old friends that come into town. It’s busy, we have the line out the door,” said Antonio's Pizza Manager, Robert Walters.  

As many as 20,000 people are expected to descend on the college town.
At Antonio’s pizza, the slices can’t be brought out of the oven fast enough.

Walters said this is one of the busiest weekends for a place where many in town wait in line outside just to get a slice on any given day, and he hopes to have special treat this weekend. 

“We're supposed to have the Nutella special which a Nutella base with a strawberries, raspberries, marscapone cheese, lemon zest and confectioners sugar it’s a really good special. A lot of people have already been coming in asking for it," Walters added. 

Every year, the traffic can be a nightmare. 

Amherst Fire chief Tim Nelson advises everyone to try and get to graduation early.

Here are some ways to beat the traffic: 

You can come into Amherst from the north or south of town on Route 116.

If you have friends and family coming from eastern Massachusetts, Chief Nelson said coming from Route 9 through Belchertown may be your best bet but make sure you are patient. 

And as the sun fades on the UMass campus, a new chapter begins for thousands of eager students. 

Graduate commencement will start at 9 a.m.

The main commencement ceremony begins at 4:30 on Friday, rain or shine.
CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper is the commencement speaker.

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