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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Grinnell Games to bring BMX, food, revenue this June

The Grinnell Games are scheduled to take place on June 11 and 12 of this year. Last summer marked the first year of the Games, which are organized by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and marketed as an alternative sports festival, according to Bryan Schultz, Marketing Manager for the Chamber of Commerce.

“Every community has a festival, and we were looking for something different,” Schultz said. “And we also wanted to showcase what Grinnell has.”

Angela Harrington, Chamber Director, first came up with the idea for the sport festival last year, and the event was successful in its inaugural year. There were 600 participants, and the Chamber brought in professional BMX riders and 25-foot ramps. In addition the BMX events, there were a Kites Over Grinnell demonstration, baseball tournament and skateboarding competition.

“At the end of the day, we wanted something that more people felt they could get involved with,” Schultz said.

This year, there are 5K and half marathon races, triathlons of multiple distances, a twilight bike race, BMX and skateboarding competitions, disc golf and trap shooting. Schultz expects that the events and family-friendly options will bring more participants to the Games this summer.

“Right now, the 5K and triathlon are very popular among those who have registered,” Schultz said.

Schultz hopes that the wide range of events will appeal to a wider range of people. The events cover a variety of interests, abilities, and a wide age range.

“Not everybody is an elite athlete,” Schultz said, “and we wanted events where you don’t have to have the ability to run 10 miles to participate … and you can bring your family, even if you all have different interests.”

The Games will utilize the new town aquatic center, private parks, city facilities and the College’s fieldhouse and natatorium. Because of the wide variety of such facilities in Grinnell, the city was recently named an Iowa Sports Authority District.

“Grinnell has a tremendous amount of athletic facilities that cities two or three times our size can’t even compare with,” Schultz said.

Because of the Sports Authority District title, Grinnell was granted state funds to promote the athletic facilities to bring team sports and festivals to the city. Schultz said the funds will also help to put on this year’s Games. Because of this grant, the Chamber can expand the scope of the games this year, broadening the variety of events offered, increasing advertising, and reaching out to families.

Another difference of this year’s Games is that instead of the Chamber putting them on, many different entities in the community will help out.

“Grinnell Recreation Department will run the family triathlon because they run the aquatic center, so they can have the swimming there and show off their facilities,” Schultz said, “and Imagine Grinnell is putting on the half marathon and 5K so they’ll be able to show off the recreational trail. … Bikes To You is putting on the Twilight Bike Criterium … and Big Springs Shooting Complex is handling the trap shooting.”

The event is going to be a great chance to bring people to see the city and to increase revenue. In fact, a segment on the games will be shown on KCCI’s Move It Monday this week.

“Just marketing this event means we’re marketing Grinnell, we’re tagging Grinnell as an Iowa sports and recreation destination. No matter who attends the event, people around the state will start hearing Grinnell’s name a lot because it’s going to be in the paper, on TV, on radio,” Schultz said. “So there’s quite a bit of marketing involved.”

Some of the projected figures for the Games this year are exciting. They expect about 1,500 contestants and about 6,700 spectators this year.

Since the average person spends about $110 a day and most people will stay for several days, the Games are expected to bring in $3,861,000 since the money generated will turn over seven times, Schultz explained.

Another event to look forward to is the block party that will be on Broad Street between 4th and 5th Streets. There will be inflatables for the kids (or college students), a beer garden for those of age, food vendors and lots of music.

“There will be music constantly, and there will be live music scheduled throughout the day as well,” Schultz said.

The food vendors will be from restaurants around town, and there will be a Taste of Grinnell event where the vendors will cook outdoors to showcase their food.

All of the events have prizes, though they do vary drastically. Some of the events have iPads as prizes whereas some have cash prizes. But no one leaves empty handed. Every participant will receive a Dri-fit shirt, t-shirt, or baseball cap just for entering an event.

If you’re interested, you can find more information and register for events online at Grinnell Games.

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