EDWARDSVILLE — High-speed bike racing, live music, children’s races, a children’s art tent and some of the city’s favorite restaurants will take to the streets of downtown Edwardsville on Saturday, Aug. 20, for The Bank of Edwardsville Rotary Criterium Festival.
Entering its seventh year, this event draws thousands of spectators for a unique afternoon and evening which begins at 3 p.m. and runs until about 11 p.m. Sanctioned by USA Cycling and hosted by the Edwardsville Rotary Club, the city of Edwardsville and Edwardsville Township, the festival features:
• Eight high-speed professional and amateur bike races on a 0.7‑mile loop course with seven challenging turns on closed-off streets. Racing begins at 3 p.m. and the last race, the Cat 1/2 pro racers, begins at 9 p.m. Once again, there will be a $10,000 purse — one of the largest one-day payouts for a bike race in the region. Race sponsors include Anderson Hospital, Scott Credit Union and Hortica.
• Four free children’s races, sponsored by the Edwardsville Wrestling Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will be held in the categories: 3 and under, 4-6 years, 7-8 years, and 9‑10 years. Registration will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Main and Vandalia streets. The children’s races will begin at 6:45 p.m. Helmets are required.
• Three regional bands will take the concert stage, sponsored by Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Bank of Springfield, Glen Carbon Banking Center and Madison Mutual. The first band, Old Salt Union, plays a mix of “newgrass” and Americana and will play from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Next, Edwardsville’s own Exit 12 will play from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, St. Louis-based Jake Gehret & the Brokedown Sound will close the evening from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. with their rousing MoTown sound.
• First Clover Leaf Bank is once again partnering with the Edwardsville Arts Center for the Pedal & Paint Art Tent, where children of all ages can create free bike-related artwork on a canvas. Last year, nearly 400 children took home an original work of art.
• Thanks to an “open containers perimeter” on Main Street, visitors to downtown’s establishments can purchase beverages in plastic containers and step onto the sidewalk to watch the race or enjoy the music.
• This year’s event will be adding a new feature: the Homefield Energy Spokes & Spoons Food Zone, featuring a large covered seating area, six local restaurants and two regional food trucks. Those restaurants are Peel, Wang Gang, Catrinas, Social Gastropub, Joe’s Pizza and Shannon’s.
• As the 2016 Presenting Safety Sponsor, Edwardsville Township will also be hosting a helmet-fitting and giveaway for children in the Kids Zone area near the intersection of Main and Vandalia.
Details can be found by visiting EdwardsvilleCriterium.com or finding “Edwardsville Rotary Criterium” on Facebook.