The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 1, 2014

Danville Spring Fling to attract 10,000

DANVILLE — Food, games, crafts, a marathon and a half-marathon will be among the attractions of this year’s Spring Fling in downtown Danville.

The Spring Fling, in its 28th year, is the largest annual event sponsored by the Danville Business Alliance.

“Assuming we have ideal weather, the best guess would be around 10,000 people,” said Alliance Executive Director Jim Wilson of projected attendance.

The downtown will be closed to traffic for the event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday along Mill Street from Route 11 to Front Street, Lower Mulberry and East and West Mahoning streets.

About 200 booths are expected to be set up, according to Val Shultz, a member of the alliance promotions committee.

“There will be a big variety of foods,” she said, along with hand-crafted items, jewelry, wooden pieces and nonprofit organizations manning stands.

Downtown businesses also will be hosting specials.

Wilson said the event is aimed at having fun along with offering free admission, free parking and free shuttle service from the Danville Middle School.

Wilson said some of the food offered will be prepared by restaurants in town.

Entertainment will be in Canal Park, next to the municipal building. Doug Eaton and his students will present demonstrations at 11 a.m. Zing Productions will perform from noon to 2 p.m. Woody Wolfe will entertain at 2 p.m. and Doug McMinn will provide music starting at 3 p.m.

A full marathon and a half-marathon will start in the morning.

This is the eighth year for the River Towns Marathon and Half Marathon.

“Our total cap for both races combined is 750,” said Bob Stoudt, director of the Montour Area Recreation Commission, said of registrations.

As of Monday, there were 100 runners registered for the full marathon, of 26.2 miles, and 450 racers registered for the half-marathon covering 13.1 miles.

A total of 50 runners will be allowed to register the day of the races at the Montour County Courthouse.

Stoudt expects registration this year to slightly beat last year’s numbers. “But like the Humdinger races in March, people weren’t able to get the training in the winter because it was so bad and long. If we would have had better weather — but I’m still pleased that at least we will beat last year’s numbers,” he said.  

Registration for the full marathon is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. with the race starting at 7 a.m., beginning on West Market Street behind the courthouse and continuing along Market Street, River Drive to Catawissa, to Rupert, to Bloomsburg Town Park and turning around and ending at the courthouse.

The half marathon officially starts the Spring Fling with runners heading down Mill Street from the courthouse and proceeding along Mulberry, Ferry and Market streets to River Drive, the county line and back to the courthouse.

Stoudt expects just shy of 40 percent of the runners to come from more than 50 miles from Danville. “This race is the best one we do to attract visitors outside our region which is one of the key goals to attract people who are willing to stay here to get something at a local restaurant, buy gas and possibly stay overnight,” he said.

Racers will each receive a $5 voucher to redeem at the Spring Fling or at a participating Danville business.

Special trophies will be awarded to the overall male and overall female winners of both races. Also recognized will be first, second and third place finishers in each age category among men and women in the full and the half marathons.

All race finishers will receive medals.

Wilson said the Spring Fling and marathons “provide a lot of early season visibility and promotion to the downtown business district which is important and one of the reasons the event was established in the first place. It is important considering there are many existing businesses which reminds people they are still going strong and catering to the public. We have also had 10 new businesses established and several more existing businesses that have relocated or undergone major expansions,” he said.

A survey of last year’s Spring Fling and races showed the combined economic impact conservatively to be estimated at more than $500,000.

The Bloomsburg University Center for Community Research and Consulting, which did the survey, estimated direct and indirect impacts and inducted spending as much as $433,000 with more than $205,000 remaining in Montour County.

The recreation commission calculated the total impact of the races at more than $108,000.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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