You had better plan ahead because the weekend of June 2-4 is going to be a busy one in downtown Columbus — with everything from a burger cookoff to an international urban mountain bike race to the world paddleboard championships in the Chattahoochee River.
There is a little something for everybody and the action is going to stretch from the river to Broadway.
“It is going to be a very busy weekend,” said Becca Zajac, Uptown Columbus Inc. vice president of marketing and community relations.
She isn’t kidding. And it is going to come with a maze of street closures that motorists will have to navigate from Friday night through Sunday.
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The streets that will be closed are:
▪ 1000 block of Broadway from 6 p.m. Friday, June 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 4.
▪ 1100 block of Broadway from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, June 2.
▪ Bay Avenue between 11th Street and the Chattahoochee River Club from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
While Broadway will be closed in two different blocks on Friday, the cross streets at 12th, 11th and 10th will remain open, Zajac said.
The closures all relate to three different events:
▪ Union Cycliste Internationale UCI MTB Eliminator World Cup by City Mountainbike. The event will be June 3-4, but the 1000 block of Broadway will be closed beginning at 6 p.m. Friday so the obstacles on the course can be put in place.
▪ 2017 WPA Paddle Championships presented by Salt Life will be held on the river June 3-4 from just below the rapids at Eagle & Phenix to the Dillingham Street Bridge. The 1100 block of Broadway will be closed Friday night while Salt Life, a Columbus-based retail company and the event’s signature sponsor, has the grand opening of its new downtown store.
▪ Bud & Burgers Cook-Off will be held Saturday afternoon and evening on Bay Avenue, sandwiched between the mountain bike race and the paddle board championships.
The longest running event of the weekend is the urban mountainbike race. It is the first time a UCI urban mountain bike race has been held in the United States, said promoter Eddie Freyer of Chain Buster Racing in Birmingham, Ala.
The 500-meter course will be contained to the 1000 block of Broadway with the route going in and out of the median.
“This is a UCI World Cup event, which makes it the biggest cycling event Columbus has seen since the Tour de Georgia was here in 2003,” said Jason McKenzie, owner of Ride On Bikes in downtown Columbus.
McKenzie was a player in bringing the race to Columbus. He was contacted by Freyer because the last three years there has been a local urban mountain bike race downtown.
In addition to the pros racing on Sunday, there will be races for amateurs on Saturday, McKenzie said. The professional format will feature four-person heat races with the top two finishers advancing until there is a final and champion.
“It is important to remember that this event is not only for the professionals, but kids, weekend warriors and amateur racers will be a huge part of the weekend,” McKenzie said. “I am excited that uptown has attracted such a great event.”
The third-annual Bud & Burgers Cook-Off will feature a collection of backyard grillmasters and local chefs in contest to see has the best burger in Columbus. The event, a partnership with Anheuser Busch, will feature cold beer, live music and the burgers will be available for purchase.
The two-day paddleboard competition will include professional and amateur competitors from across the country.
“The WPA is excited to bring the World SUP Tour and our paddling event to a very unique location in Columbus, Georgia,” said WPA President Byron Kurt. “The city of Columbus provides a great spectator-friendly venue that the competitors will enjoy.”
All the events are free to the public.