Busy spring calendar for downtown Columbus, Phenix City

Get ready to celebrate spring with live music, 5K races and more.

Officials on Thursday unveiled a variety of spring events coming to downtown Columbus and Phenix City. The lineup, announced during a press conference on the 14th Street Bridge, includes some new events.

Among the highlights? A downtown Columbus music festival May 17-18 that’s expected to include 50 acts and nine stages, spanning indoor and outdoor venues.

"It’s going to be stellar," Buddy Nelms, a downtown entrepreneur and one of the music festival’s organizers, said in an interview after the press conference.

A list of performers will be released as the festival approaches. Nelms expects the event to attract national-level talent.

Also, the Uptown Columbus Dragon Boat Festival will debut May 25 in a downtown Columbus area of the RiverWalk. The central activity: dragon boat racing, in which teams paddle in boats that are 42 feet long. A fundraising component of the event will raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network at the Columbus Regional Medical Center.

The calendar released Thursday includes many returning events, too. The Saturday outdoor market returns April 6 in downtown Columbus.

The Uptown Columbus Concert Series returns April 5 and includes free outdoor Friday concerts by acts like Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness, Classic Addict and more. The Phenix City Amphitheater will host some upcoming concerts as well, including an April 27 performance by Atlanta-based Sol Junky. The band has performed with acts like Zac Brown and Colt Ford.

Fitness enthusiasts should expect lots of downtown Columbus 5K races in upcoming weeks. The Color Me Rad 5K, part of a national series of races, will be held downtown March 23. The race has already attracted 3,500 entries, officials said Thursday.

What happens on race day? “Basically you get your whitest, cleanest shirt, tank-top, wife beater or just a thick patch of bleached chest hair and run until you get coated in color so thick, Tide with Bleach will be calling you to star in their next commercial,” according to information posted on the event’s official website.

The Color Me Rad 5K also raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network.