Welcome to Racine, Wis. and the 2016 edition of the Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon!
We at Real Racine hope you enjoy your time here. We've compiled some information and ideas for you, your friends and families.
Our beach is the star!
You'll be spending time at North Beach, 100 Kewaunee St. This 50-acre city park is the state's first Blue Wave Beach designated by the National Clean Beaches Council. Yes, those are real palm trees — a summer fixture of the Beachside Oasis. The Kids Cove play area is at the south end of the beach near the transition site.
Make some noise
New this year is the Real Racine Ironman Spirit Station. Look for the blue tent at the south end of the park on Sunday morning. We will be giving away 2,000 sets of bright blue pompons and inflatable thundersticks. There will also be markers and pre-printed cardboard so fans can create custom "go" signs to cheer on friends and family members along the race course.
You and your family are invited to an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. held at Roma Lodge, 7130 Spring St. — just a few miles from the lakefront. This meal features mostaccioli and meatballs, salad, bread and butter for just $12 adults, $8 kids ages 10 and younger. Tickets will be available during registration Friday and Sunday at the blue Real Racine tent. Restaurants of all types are available in the Racine area this weekend — consult a copy of the Real Racine Activities Guide available in the registration area.
Saturday is special in Downtown Racine this year. DRAW (Downtown Racine Art Walk) runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Galleries, shops and other businesses will host artists and their works. Several artists will give demonstrations. You'll also have an opportunity to view and bid on the original art for this year's "Celebrate Racine" banners at 411 Main St. The Racine Art Museum (RAM) at 441 Main St. will have free admission during DRAW. RAM is also open 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 adults, $3 seniors and free for children ages 12 and younger. Just down the street is the Racine Heritage Museum, 701 Main St., with fascinating exhibits about the many entrepreneurs that built businesses here. Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free.
Big fish here
The annual Salmon-A-Rama fishing tournament continues this weekend. Anglers from all over the country are trying their luck at thousands of dollars in cash prizes, including $20,000 for the largest overall fish caught in Lake Michigan. There is live music starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Salmon-A-Rama headquarters tent, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway. A free shuttle connects the Harbourwalk Hotel Racine and the Main Street area with the SAR action.
For the family
The Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., is an enjoyable destination within walking distance of North Beach. You'll see dozens of animals, including giraffes, lions, monkeys and birds. Admission is $8 adults; $7 seniors; $6 for children ages 15 and younger. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nationally known children's entertainer Jeanie B! brings her show to the Racine Zoo at 6 p.m. Friday. This upbeat show has sing-alongs, dancing and interactive music. Tickets are $15 Tickets at 262-636-9189 or www.racinezoo.org
One of the year's most colorful events — the 6th Annual Waterford Balloonfest — is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Evergreen School grounds, 817 W. Main St. in Waterford, approximately 20 miles west of Racine. Nearly 20 giant hot air balloons are expected to be launched Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning (weather permitting). The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday with an arts and crafts fair, kids activities, food, tethered balloon rides and helicopter rides. The Kids From Wisconsin put on a free show starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Be sure to stick around after dark Friday and Saturday when propane flames partially inflate the balloons and produce a beautiful glow. Free admission to the grounds. Parking is $5 or $10 depending on location. For the Balloonfest schedule, visit www.waterford-wi.org Apple Holler Farm, 5006 S. Sylvania Ave., Yorkville, is about 10 miles from Racine. The orchard and activity center celebrates blueberries and cherries this month with free tastings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. of blueberry bread plus blueberry and cherry donuts, wine and jams/jellies. www.appleholler.com