HAMMONTON _ A “crazy good day” is planned for June 29, as an international bike race comes through town on the same day as the annual Red, White and Blueberry Festival, said local businesswoman and MainStreet Hammonton organizer Linda Cashan.
It will also be the final day of Hammonton’s NJ350 Pop Up Store, celebrating the state’s 350th anniversary.
The inaugural Challenge Atlantic City Triathlon will bring more than 1,200 athletes through - twice - on a 112-mile bike race. Hundreds of spectators will be shuttled from Atlantic City's Bader Field, where the race starts, to Hammonton to watch bikers as they go through downtown, said race organizer Stephen DelMonte of Delmo Racing in Wildwood. Shuttles will also take people back and forth between downtown and the blueberry festival at Hammonton High School.
The bike race will go through several Atlantic County towns, but Hammonton has been designated as the main spectator site, said DelMonte. The triathlon also includes a 2.4-mile swim in the bay near Bader Field and a 26.2-mile run through Absecon Island.
It’s the first time an international Challenge Family triathlon will be held in the U.S., he said, and about 10 percent of the 1,200 racers already registered are from foreign countries. He said getting spectators to Hammonton will change the way they see New Jersey.
“Imagine you are coming from Denmark and have your family with you,” DelMonte said. “You’re on the bike course, and your family is dropped off in quintessential small-town America ... and they go to this classic American festival.”
The town is also hosting the NJ350 Pop-Up Store from June 27 to June 29, in celebration of the state's 350th anniversary. It is one of 16 sites chosen statewide during 2014, and one of only three sites chosen in southeastern New Jersey. The others are Atlantic City from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18 and Bridgeton from Dec. 5 to Dec. 7.
The NJ350 store will sell Jerseyana mercahndise provided by the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, said Cassie Iacovelli, executive director of MainStreet Hammonton. Specialty items from Hammonton businesses also will be featured, along with books on New Jersey. Store location and hours of operation will be announced by the end of April.
Other regularly scheduled events, such as Third Thursday events at stores and restaurants downtown, Cruisin’ MainStreet held in May and September; “Sellin’ the Farm” July 26, a summer sale day for stores downtown; and the second annual Peach Party, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 2, to celebrate Hammonton’s early history in peach growing, will continue and expand, said MainStreet Hammonton Executive Director Cassie Iacovelli.
“We’re excited to be the spectator site and plan to give a great Hammonton welcome,” said Iacovelli.
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