Lots of mud, but no run this year

There’s good news and bad news involving the upcoming Belgian-American Days on Aug. 2-4 in Ghent. First, the bad news. Because of unsafe conditions due to the deluge of rain in recent months, the ever-popular Challenge of the Lions Mud Run will not be held. “During the flood event last July, the City of Ghent decided to build a temporary levy along the bike path on the south edge of town to keep the flood waters from inundating the Bluebird Housing Addition,” explained City Administrator Dawn Vlaminck. “Due to the continued wet conditions and threat of flooding this spring, the levy has stayed in position.” “Unfortunately, the area that the dirt was excavated to form the levy is the mud run course. While it seems like perfect conditions for a mud run, it just isn’t safe for the runners or spectators to hold the event with the current conditions, and it’s just too wet to get out there and undo the damage.” Now, for the good news. There will be a new “Non-Challenge of the Lion .05k” in its place. Not to be confused with a familiar 5k run (3.107 miles), the .05k is equivalent to 164.041995 feet in length in order for racers of all physical abilities to participate. The Non-Challenge of the Lion will be held on Friday evening (Aug. 2) following the B-A Days Coronation. “We understand that our avid runners are going to be frustrated with the loss of the mud run,” said Vlamnick.

“So we decided to have a little fun with the extreme difference in distance and course materials as we introduce the new event.” Runners are encouraged to dress up in their best Belgian colors for the race and post-race festivities. The finish line is at the main stage, where there will be beer for the adults, root beer for the kids, and Belgian Cookie S’mores for all registered racers. Register online at www.ghentmn.com. “While it is unfortunate the we are not able to do the mud run this year, we have every intention of bringing it back next year and we are very excited about the .05K and hope that the community has a lot of fun with that,” Vlaminck said.

Besides the coronation and Non-Challenge of the Lion, there will be several other events on Friday, including the first day of the traditional Rolle Bolle Tournament, a beanbag tournament, Pedal Tractor Pull, DJ on stage, a movie in the park (“Moana”) and more. “It will be a community block party type of atmosphere,” Vlaminck noted.

“So bring your lawn chairs, play yard games, and experience food, fun and entertainment for the entire family.” Saturday’s schedule is filled with festivities, food and even the playing of both the American and Belgium National Anthems at 11 a.m. to kick off the 13th annual Ghent Cruisers Car Show.

New this year at the Car Show is “Tri-Fives” (1955, ‘56 and ‘57 Chevrolets). The car show again features cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors. The awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. There will also be a food stand, door prizes and more. Mylan Ray from KISD will again be on hand as announcer and DJ.

Also on Saturday will be Rolle Bolle all day, as well as the annual softball tournament. “For the kids, we have inflatables and a petting zoo in the park,” said Vlaminck.

“Also new this year will Minnesota’s Captain Jack Sparrow giving a ‘real pirate history’ presentation at 3 p.m. at Legion Park.”

“He will give the kids the opportunity to hold authentic pirate treasure from sunken ships, learn about trade and commerce, and find out what it takes to be in a pirate crew.”

The Grand Parade is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., which will be followed by the annual Fire Department Feed.

Isabella Callens will perform in front of the firehouse, and the introduction of this year’s Belgian-American Days royalty will also take place there. The evening concludes with the street dance, featuring “IV Play.”

Belgian-American Days shirts will be on sale at KB’s Bar & Grill. To see the schedule of events, visit www.ghentmn.com.

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