Changes mark this year’s Bridge of Flowers race

  • A previous year’s Bridge of Flowers Road Race on State Street. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Last year’s Bridge of Flowers Road Race competitors cross the Iron Bridge at the race’s start. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/9/2017 9:44:55 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — The cowbell used to mark the start of the Bridge of Flowers road races will still be wrung by founder and former race director Michael McCusker, but some changes mark the 39th annual 3K and 10K runs this year.

The Bridge of Flowers races take place Saturday, Aug. 12, generally bringing at least 1,000 competitors and their families into Shelburne Falls for the day or for the weekend.

This year’s race has a new director, Carole Appleton. Also a new “garland of pennants” will be installed to replace the traditional helium balloon arch. Local artist Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, director of The Art Garden has designed both the artwork that adorns this year’s T-shirt and hand-painted canvas banners fluttering near the finish line.

“I’m handpainting repurposed canvas that we found,” said Wegscheider. She said the instillation will include five tiers of brightly colored triangles and strips along the scaffolding that are “more ecological than the helium balloons.” Also, the pennant garland can be reused in future years.

“They really wanted to move away from the helium,” she said. The pennants won’t be installed until the early morning hours before the race. It will be something new for the locals who watch the race year after year.

Appleton said walk-in registration on Saturday begins at 7 a.m. The Steve Lewis Subaru Charity 3K Run and Walk starts at 8:15 a.m., and the 10K Classic starts at the Iron Bridge at 9 a.m.

The Iron Bridge and Bridge Street will be closed to traffic throughout the morning and some roadways may be closed while a race is in progress.

This year, the male and female race winners within each age group will be given prizes. There will be a post-race awards ceremony at the observation deck, overlooking the Glacial Potholes, and a post-race party held at the Blue Rock Cafe.

On Friday night, Aug. 11, there is a free “Spaghetti Fest” for the runners and volunteers from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School. Also, runners may register there on Friday night.

This race has five charity partners whose runners help them receive proceeds from the race. This year they are: Dial Self, The Cancer Connection, the Art Garden, the Academy at Charlemont, and Friends of Children, a Hadley-based group that works with vulnerable children in the foster care system.


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