EDWARDSVILLE — Hundreds of cyclists racing at break-neck speeds, scores of children donning helmets and thousands of spectators clanging cowbells can mean only one thing: the Edwardsville Rotary Criterium is approaching.
The Rotary Club of Edwardsville and this year’s title sponsor, The Bank of Edwardsville, announce that the Edwardsville Rotary Criterium is Saturday, Aug. 15. Entering its sixth year, the event features a fast-paced afternoon and evening of high-speed professional bicycle races, free children’s races, a “Pedal & Paint” Art Tent, a children’s helmet fitting and giveaway, and eight hours of free live music, all on the streets of downtown Edwardsville.
Sanctioned by USA Cycling and hosted by the Edwardsville Rotary Club, the Criterium is a 0.7-mile loop course with seven challenging turns on closed-off streets. Professional and amateur cyclists from 11 states compete for $10,000 in prize money — one of the largest one-day payouts for a bike race in the region.
Criterium visitors can enjoy free live music all afternoon and evening at the Criterium Concert stage on Main Street in front of the Madison County Courthouse. This year’s lineup includes:
- 3 p.m. to 5:30 pm: Exit 12 (playing contemporary hits)
- 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos
- 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.: Jake Gehret & The Brokedown Sound (Motown jam)
“Crit Kids” family activities
New this year, the event will feature activities in the “Crit Kids” area at the corner of Main and Vandalia in downtown Edwardsville, near Walgreens and RunWell. Parents can register their children to participate in the annual Crit Kids Race. Four free races will be held in the following categories: 3 and under, 4-6 years, 7-8 years and 9-11 years. Children must wear helmets. Registration is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Kids Race Registration Tent in the Crit Kids Area. The Kids Races actually begin at 6:45 p.m.
Art lovers of all ages can make and take an original bicycle-related piece of artwork at the First Clover Leaf Bank/Edwardsville Arts Center Pedal & Paint Art Tent.
Also located in the Crit Kids area, Edwardsville Township, partnering with the Cardinal Glennon’s Kid Safety program, will provide a free helmet fitting to all children and will be giving away helmets while supplies last.
Downtown Edwardsville: Spokes, spoons and spirits
Downtown Edwardsville is home to dozens of restaurants and shops. Thanks to an “open containers perimeter,” visitors to downtown’s establishments can buy beverages in plastic containers and step onto the sidewalk to watch the race or enjoy the live music.
“I want to take this opportunity and thank the dozens of sponsors, the hundreds of Rotarians and community volunteers, the city of Edwardsville officials and staff and all of those individuals — especially my wife and family — who make this event happen,” Race Director SJ Morrison said. “Your financial support, hours of volunteering, love of this community and unwavering commitment remind me over and over again why I would never live anywhere else.”