CAMBRIDGE – This year, Summer Sendoff will be welcoming some new friends. More than 1,800 triathletes and their familes will be in town for the Sept. 20 event as they compete in IRONMAN Maryland, one of only 12 full-distance IRONMAN triathlons in North America.
The triathlon will begin in the morning, but Summer Sendoff – Blues, Brews and Barbecue will run from 5-10 p.m. on the 300 and 400 blocks of Race Street.
“Cambridge is increasingly being recognized at a regional and national level, which speaks volumes to the hard, orchestrated work of city and county officials, local businesspeople and our community in general,” said Cambridge Main Street Executive Director Brandon Hesson. “We are going to have an opportunity to introduce out town to a new group.”
This year, IRONMAN Maryland will stage its finish line at Long Wharf, a few blocks from the downtown commercial district. Unlike other years, where the finish line was located at Great Marsh Park, the new set-up should highlight Main Street businesses. Also, a portion of the race’s 26.2-mile run will take place on Poplar Street.
“IRONMAN (World Triathlon Corporation) has come to the table with an approach that wants to put the focus on the host city,” said Mr. Hesson, who pointed out that more than 80 percent of race participants are expected to come with two or more people. “The race participants will get to experience a world-class environment, and Cambridge Main Street is working to make sure their families get the same experience. If we have the opportunity to let such a large group experience one of this town’s signature events, we need to take advantage of that and welcome them.”
Summer Sendoff will feature Black Dog Alley and their eclectic mix of original blues and classic rock standards on the RAR Main Stage from 5-10 p.m. Black Dog Alley has performed in regionally-acclaimed venues throughout Delmarva, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
The Main Street Mile, a staple of Summer Sendoff, will feature teams representing local businesses racing for a contribution to their local charity. The whacky obstacle course was originally fashioned to represent a triathlon. Each member of the four-person relay teams must ride a tricycle to the second station, where they must don a scuba mask and flippers to race to the final station. This third station is a traditional egg-on-a-spoon race. This event will take place from 6:30 until approximately 7:30 p.m. near the intersection of Race and Muir streets.
Of course, you can’t have a Blues, Brews and Barbecue event without the brews and barbecue. Local restaurants will be set up on the street selling their barbecue-inspired dishes and specialty craft brews.
“We want people to have fun, so entertainment is always a priority for our events,” said Mr. Hesson. “This year, entertainment is even more important, so our events will be an evolving process right up until the actual event on Sept. 20. Every idea is a good idea.”