Spend happy hour with some water-bound canines, and then hit the Broadway bar scene.
That’s one of the advantages of the Aflac Outdoor Games’ new location in downtown Columbus.
Now in its third year, the event previously took place slightly later in the summer at South Commons near the Columbus Civic Center.
This weekend, it makes its debut on the riverfront area near Columbus State University’s RiverPark campus downtown.
The move allows for the inclusion of a nightlife component. In addition to the musical acts that will perform on two stages, an Aflac Outdoor Games wristband gets you into Broadway bars this weekend.
The event’s family-friendly focus is still intact. Expect the return of popular events like Ultimate Air Dogs, which features dogs performing long-distance jumps into water.
Also, guests can play in the Knology Family Zone, which includes inflatables, video games and more.
“We feel like we’ve provided something for everyone,” said Warner Neal, president of Columbus-based Outdoor Events, the event management company organizing the Aflac Outdoor Games.
Along with the new nightlife element, this year’s Aflac Outdoor Games includes a few changes. The lumberjack events will be a show, rather than a competition.
Also, there’s the addition of Saturday night bike races, which Neal said might attract close to 500 participants.
Downtown spectators will be able to watch the races.
Neal is optimistic about the location change, which could eventually allow the Aflac Outdoor Games to include events like whitewater rafting and kayaking.
“We’re excited about this change,” Neal said.
Attending this weekend’s Aflac Outdoor Games? Keep these tips in mind:
No coolers. Food and beverage vendors will be available. Leashed dogs are allowed.
Street closures. 10th Street and 11th Street will be closed all day Saturday. The portion of the Riverwalk from the Columbus Convention and Trade Center to Synovus will be closed Friday through Sunday.
Parking. The RiverCenter parking garage, the One Arsenal Place parking garage and the CSU/W.C. Bradley parking garage will not be available for public use during the event.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, is at 706-571-8516.