A.L. gets ready to celebrate all new Broadway

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

As construction on Broadway comes to a close, organizers are gearing up for a community celebration Saturday that will feature games, sidewalk sales and even a street dance downtown.

Called Celebrate Albert Lea, the day kicks off with the Color Dash, a 5-kilometer fun run planned to start on North Broadway, go west on Fountain Street to Lakeview Boulevard and around a portion of Fountain Lake. At Edgewater Drive, participants will turn around and head back toward Broadway.

Participants will get “blitzed” with a colored powder made from cornstarch as they reach different stations along the race, and proceeds from the event will be split between the weight room at Albert Lea High School and starting a Youth 1st chapter in Albert Lea. Youth 1st, which aims to strengthen youth, started in Owatonna three years ago and has a second chapter in Medford.

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“We’re excited,” said organizer Mark Arjes, one of the founders of Youth 1st. “It will be a lot of fun. It’s a great kickoff to Celebrate Albert Lea.”

Arjes said a couple hundred people have already signed up and he hopes a couple hundred more will sign up by race day. People can sign up online at www.thecolordash5k.com.

The dash is slated to begin at 10 a.m., with packet pickup beginning at 8 a.m. at the intersection of Clark Street and Broadway.

Other events will take place on the stretch of Broadway from Fountain Street to William Street so participants will be able to see the work that has been completed. As part of the more than $4 million project, crews have reconstructed the roads and sidewalks, replaced underground utilities and installed new street amenities such as flower pots and benches. Still to be completed is the block from William Street to Main Street and the installation of light poles along the entire stretch. Fountain Lake Park is also getting a makeover.

Aside from the Color Dash, sidewalk sales will go from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the Albert Lea Art Center will open its Art and Faith exhibit. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be pumpkin painting for kids between William and Clark Street, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be face painting by the Albert Lea Art Center for $3 per design.

Between noon and 1 p.m., there will be a street dedication by Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen and City Manager Chad Adams.

Also starting at noon and going until 3 p.m., there will be kids crafts, a train ride and an obstacle course at various areas on the street. At 2 p.m. there will be cooking demonstrations by Crescendo owner Bob Tewes.

The evening will wrap up with swing dancing from 5 to 7 p.m. near the William Street plaza and a street dance featuring Chris Brooks and the Silver City Boys.

Food and beverages will be served throughout the day by the 112 on Broadway, the American Legion and Taco King.

“We encourage families and people of all ages to come down and participate,” said Susie Petersen, executive director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There’s going to be something for everyone.”

Petersen said though the Broadway reconstruction is not yet completed, she thinks people will be pleasantly surprised with what has been done.

Crews have been completing the block between William and Main streets the last few weeks, and work has yet to be completed in Fountain Lake Park.


Celebrate Albert Lea schedule

8-10 a.m.: The Color Dash registration and packet pickup

10 a.m.: The Color Dash begins

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Sidewalk sales

11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Pumpkin painting for children

11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Face painting by the Albert Lea Art Center

Noon-1 p.m.: Street dedication

Noon-3 p.m.: Kids crafts, kids train ride and kids obstacle course

2 p.m.: Cooking demonstrations in front of Crescendo

5-7 p.m.: Swing dancing

8 p.m.-midnight: Street dance featuring Chris Brooks and the Silver City Boys