Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Blues or The Boss, fillies or families: life's a blast

Auckland becomes party central again this weekend with options for all tastes.

Bruce Springsteen. Photo / AP
Bruce Springsteen. Photo / AP

One of the largest crowds of the Blues' season is expected tonight to kick off another bumper events weekend for Auckland.

More than 30,000 people are expected at Eden Park for the Blues' first home game against their fiercest rivals, the Crusaders.

Although both teams lost last week, Blues marketing manager Grant McKenzie said a strong crowd was expected.

Numbers averaged just under 21,000 a game last year, but the Crusaders were a big drawcard.

"They're our traditional rival ... there are a lot of All Blacks coming back for both sides, there's still a lot of interest in a couple of young guys making their first start.

"And Benji [Marshall] off the bench - I think everyone is pretty interested to see how he continues to develop."

It is another crowded events calendar for Aucklanders this weekend, with the Blues game just one of many options.

The Auckland Cup Carnival kicks off today, with free admission to Alexandra Park for harness racing as well as entertainment including Sons of Zion and a fashion show.

Tomorrow's TV3 Derby Day is a historic event for 3-year-old horses which was first held in 1875.

There will be plenty going on besides racing, including the Fashions in the Field final, and free pony rides and bouncy castles for the kids in the Picnics and Ponies family area.

For music fans, rocker Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band return for the first time in a decade for two concerts at Mt Smart Stadium, on Saturday and Sunday nights. The 64-year-old American is stopping in Auckland as part of a global tour supporting his latest album, High Hopes.

With only a handful of tickets remaining and both concerts expected to reach their 40,000 capacity, officials are urging people to make use of special transport options and to get there early. Special event buses and trains are scheduled, with no public parking available at the stadium. More information on travel to all events can be found at or phone (09) 3666400.

Sunday is also Children's Day, with a variety of events taking place across Auckland, many of them free. Trusts Stadium Arena in Henderson hosts a fair including animals, bouncy castles and face painting.

There is also a Children's day at the Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) (gold coin entry for children), and a community treasure hunt in Devonport.

- NZ Herald

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