Guelphites can expect a weekend full of activities and entertainment when the The Guelph Games launch Friday.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Helen Stoumbos, former World Cup Soccer Player and CEO of The Guelph Games.
That includes food trucks, a beer garden live music, competitive games like potato sack races. There’s even a rugby showcase, where you can learn some basic rugby skills and maybe even play a game. And of course, the Guelph Games themselves: a three-day multi-sport competition for athletes over 30.
The festival runs from July 1 to July 3, and all three days are family-friendly and free to attend.
The idea for the Games came to Stoumbos after attending the Americas Masters Games in 2017, a sporting competition for adults over 30.
“We just thought [Guelph] was a perfect location for sports, tourism, and our facilities are some of the best facilities around. I think a lot of people when they get here, they don't realize how awesome Guelph is. That's what I'm hoping they see.
“I want people to feel connection, to have fun, to be happy. I want them to say this was the [most fun] event I’ve ever been to.”
So far, there are a few hundred athletes signed up, with around 90 per cent of participants coming from areas outside of Guelph.
In April, Stoumbos put out a call for volunteers, saying they needed a number of helping hands to pull it off. Now, they have between 70 to 80 volunteers – but she says they could always use more “to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
There are six sports, including a trail run, basketball, volleyball and pickleball, which has the most athletes signed up to compete so far.
Registration is still open for athletes and teams to join. There is a fee to register as an athlete or team, ranging from $65 to $200 depending on the sport. Winners will receive cash prizes and champion medals.
“We’re keeping registration open as long as we can to allow for those stragglers to get in, because we want as many people to experience this as possible.”
The events at Exhibition end around 9 p.m. on Friday to give people time to get to Riverside Park for fireworks at 10 p.m.
To save attendees the hassle of finding parking, the City of Guelph is offering shuttles for free from Market Square to Exhibition Park, every hour from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Pick up is at the Guelph Transit stop at the corner of Macdonell Street and Wilson Street, and dropoff is at Exhibition Park at Powell Street.
However, attendees should note that there is no shuttle going to Riverside Park for the fireworks, so they will have to shuttle back to their car and drive over afterwards.
In terms of weather, there is a chance of light rain on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday are expected to be sunny. If it does rain, the games have alternate locations to keep them running, but the festival is contingent on good weather.
For more information, you can stay tuned on their Facebook page, which is updated regularly.