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Santa Cruz Plans Beach Party For American Idol Finalist James Durbin

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Written by Maria Gaura

La Vida Local - La Vida Local

SANTA CRUZ (May 2011) - The top three American Idol finalists have not yet been named, but the city of Santa Cruz is working overtime to prepare a rousing welcome for hometown favorite James Durbin.
If Durbin ascends to the top three tonight, he and his American Idol entourage will be greeted here on Saturday with a motorcade through downtown, a marching band and police escorts, media photo ops and autograph sessions, ending with a free concert on the Beach Boardwalk’s outdoor stage.
Santa Cruz’ tourism industry is understandably thrilled at the potential for national media exposure, and downtown businesses are hoping for a day of brisk sales. Officials estimate that 20,000 fans could pack Main Beach and the Boardwalk for the evening concert, and that more than 60 million Idol viewers could catch a glimpse of Santa Cruz on television. But the overwhelming feeling expressed by Santa Cruzans of all stripes is cheerful boosterism, and anticipation of a fairy-tale ending for a hardworking local lad.
Assistant City Administrator Tina Shull, answering media calls late Wednesday evening at City Hall, laughed when asked why she was working late. “It’s been all about James Durbin this week!” The city's Parks and Recreation crews have also been scrambling to spruce up key locations in advance of the party.
Seating for the free Saturday concert will open at noon for the 5 p.m. show, and coveted spots on the sand will be first-come, first served.  Durbin is expected to sing no more than three songs, and will be backed up by Santa Cruz’ White Album Ensemble if the weather permits. The concert will take place rain or shine, but if it is wet, Durbin will sing solo.
Boardwalk spokeswoman Brigid Fuller warned that Durbin Day events may well run behind schedule, due to TV production issues. And if Durbin does not make it to the top three, Durbin Day events will be, regretfully, cancelled.
James Durbin Day Schedule of Events
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Durbin will visit the AT&T Store at the Capitola Mall
2 p.m. – Motorcade, followed by American Idol production crew, will begin at Cathcart St. and Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, traveling north on Pacific to the Town Clock, then down Center St. to the Louden Nelson Community Center. 
2:30 p.m. – Durbin will visit community programs where he developed his performing skills, including the Santa Cruz Teen Center, Kids On Broadway, and All About Theater. The indoor visits will be limited to program participants, but supporters will be allowed to rally outside the center.
4:30 p.m. – The Santa Cruz High School Marching Band will lead a community procession down Center St. to Santa Cruz Main Beach, where Durbin will board an ATV and proceed to the Beach Boardwalk Bandstand for the concert.
5:30 p.m. - Durbin will be honored by Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty, and will give a short performance of 2 to 3 songs.