[May 20, 2013]The Main Street Lincoln
organization is inviting everyone to make their way downtown to the
courthouse square for a day of good, healthy fun on June 8. The
event is dubbed as the "Cruise into Main Street 5K and Health Expo,"
and there will be a lot of interesting and fun activities going on
the entire day. So whether you choose to participate in the 5K or
not, it may still be worth your time to come check it out.
According to Main Street board member and 5K committee chair Tracy
Welch, the day will begin with the 5K, but there will also be other
activities, such as vendors for a community health fair, and hours
and hours of live entertainment on the square.
Welch said some may
think the event got its name from the downtown car cruise-ins, but
in fact this event is about an entirely different kind of cruise.
And there will be two big giveaways: a week at the Biggest Loser
Resort in Chicago and an ocean cruise.
Anyone age 18 and older who registers to participate in the 5K
will be eligible to win the cruise, listed as a $500 value.
Anyone age 14 and older in attendance at the event will be
eligible to win a week's stay at the resort. Welch said the week at
the resort is a buy-one, get-one-free promotion for a new resort in
Chicago. For those who are fans of the television show "Biggest
Loser," you will know that there is a Biggest Loser Resort on the
West Coast. The company that owns it is expanding to Chicago, and
the week's stay is a $2,500 value, or 50 percent off the cost of a
stay for two.
When asked how the committee managed to get the resort stay, he
said, "You'll be surprised what can happen when you send an email."
Welch said he and his wife, Annette, are big fans of "The Biggest
Loser" television show. On the show, the contestants participate at
the Biggest Loser Resort in California. Welch said he'd learned that
another resort was going to open in Chicago, so he sent an email and
asked them to donate to the Lincoln event. They responded that they
were not able to give away a free trip, but they would give a
In addition to the prizes and the run, there will also be vendors
on hand to discuss their products and your health. Welch said he is
still trying to work out the details right now on who will be there,
but he is optimistic that there will be several when the big day
The downtown portion of the city will be blocked off for the
daylong party that will take place during and after the race. Welch
said the Railsplitter Auto Club has been invited to come for a
special cruise-in, and there will be live music the entire day.
Among those on the stage will be Erin Eskra Vargo and Mike Vargo.
Some will remember Erin as part of a sister duo who have performed
at events in Lincoln in the past. Welch said both sisters were not
available, but Erin said she would come with husband Mike, who is
also a professional musician. The Vargos now live in Nashville and
are developing their careers in the music profession.
Julia Kay Rhodes is another powerful songstress who will grace
the downtown stage. From the Chicago area, Rhodes has been on
several nationally televised shows, such as "Nashville Spotlight,"
"Seven on Ridge" with Michael Essany, "Today's Talent Network" and
"American Kids Nationals."
Others who are scheduled to entertain are musicians Joe Borbely
and Greg Gemberling, and of course in Lincoln, you can't have a
party without a little bluegrass. The Blue Grass Pickers who
entertained at last year's Railsplitter Festival will be on hand to
offer some of their best stylings.
In addition to all this, there will be a special guest in
attendance. Joe Briseno will address the audience. Briseno is a 5K
runner who recently found himself in Boston during that very tragic
Main Street is also encouraging local retailers to have special
sales that day and to set up sidewalk sales to draw attendees toward
Welch also said that of all the things visitors will find on the
downtown square, food vendors are the one thing they won't find.
For the runners there will be food at the Oasis Senior Center,
but he hopes that everyone who attends will take the time to visit
the local restaurants on the downtown square. There are several
eateries on the square and just off the square, including Guzzardo's,
Hallie's, Mama's Arcade, Sorrento's and Vintage Fare.
Welch also explained that for the serious runners, the committee
has made arrangements for "chips" for their shoes. These chips
accurately measure the time of the run. Welch said this is important
because serious runners are always working to improve their time,
and this record helps them see their progress.
The committee is also offering some special incentives for school
groups to participate. With the help of wife Annette, Welch said
they have sent out special registration forms to the area schools.
Kids are encouraged to register for the 5K, and if they do so on the
special form for their school, the school will receive $5 for each
And finally, Welch said they are hoping for some serious public
participation at the end of the run. As a runner himself, Welch said
it is really encouraging to see a crowd of people cheering the
runners at the end of the race.
The city has agreed to allow for North Kickapoo to be closed to
traffic when the runners get there. Welch said he would love to see
both sides of the street from Lincoln Avenue to Broadway lined with
spectators cheering on their favorite runners, or all the runners in
The organization also has plans for several future events, some
of them familiar from the past, some new and some restructured.
The Art of Wine this year at the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival
is going to be revamped and will be the Art of Wine and Brew. Welch
said they will have more details on that later, as well as on a new
event in October that is right now being called "Lincoln in Lincoln
-- 1858." Trick or Treat with the Mayor is scheduled for Oct. 26
And there is going to be an annual Christmas parade. Welch said
that Main Street director Bill Hoagland is hoping to breathe a
little new life into the parade, and we should all look forward to
hearing more about that later. Also, there will still be Saturdays
with Santa in December.
The race will begin near the intersection of Kickapoo and Pulaski
streets and head south on Kickapoo. At Frorer Avenue runners will
turn left. At Bryant Avenue they will turn right and take the curve
onto Comet. From Comet they will proceed to Home Avenue and take a
left. Shortly afterward will be their first checkpoint.
Runners will then proceed northward on Home to Wyatt and take
another right turn onto Wyatt. They will pass the Odd Fellows home,
where the Y and Christian Child Care are located, and run onto South
Ladue, where they will turn left. They will take South Ladue all the
way to Pekin Street and turn left onto Pekin. They will then proceed
onto North Elliott Street, where they will find their second
checkpoint. They will then take North Elliott northward to Tremont
Street, where they will turn left. They will stay on Tremont to
South Sherman and then make another right turn.
When they reach Lincoln Avenue, they will turn left again and
proceed to North Kickapoo Street. They will turn left on Kickapoo
and proceed southward toward the downtown square. The third
checkpoint will be at the southwest corner of Latham Park. From
there everyone will run or walk the home stretch to the finish line,
just beyond the Kickapoo and Broadway intersection.
This is the first year that the Main Street organization has done
a 5K, and Welch said their only real goal here is to raise the
traffic level in the downtown area. The purpose of the Main Street
organization is to bring shoppers to the city's historic downtown
area, to help keep the downtown a living and vital part of the
Main Street now has a separate website for its Lincoln events.
You can access the website to read more about the 5K, as well as
other events as they progress. You can visit that website at