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CLEVELAND -- Uli Vollgraf is visiting the Cleveland for the very first time. The German squash player is competing in the Gay Games and isn't sure what to expect.

"I don't know anything about Cleveland. I am just curious what will come," he said.

He knows he will visit the Natural History Museum because he's a science teacher. But beyond that, he's open to whatever Cleveland has to offer.

Hana Pinard is a cyclist from Houston who last visited Cleveland 30 years ago. "It was a dirty city with big, heavy industry," Pinard said.

Hana's already noticed a big difference.

"It looks a lot more beautiful. It's a radical transformation," Pinard said.

They are just two of more than 7,000 athletes coming to Cleveland for the Gay Games.

Years of planning are suddenly about to become reality.

The hotels are ready. Downtown hotels say they are very busy but will not be completely full over the games.

"We've planned and we've talked about this so we are as ready as can be,"" said Mary Kennard, with the Marriott Downtown Hotel.

Cab drivers are hoping for lots of business. Cab driver Rich Wilson said "My daughter's gay. I don't have any problem. I'm nice to everybody," he said.

A little more 7,000 athletes will participate, more than 20,000 visitors are expected and the economic impact is expected to be $40 million.

Follow WKYC's Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres on Twitter: @TomBeres

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