Plenty of events in Augusta compete for attention Saturday

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This weekend begins what will soon become a crowded calendar of events with spring around the corner.

Topping the list Saturday is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration in downtown Augusta and the Aiken Trials, the first leg of the Aiken Triple Crown races.

“It’s going to be a lot bigger parade this year. There are a lot more entries,” said parade chairman Jimbo Thrash.

There will be plenty of candy and beads tossed out, but Thrash cautions parents to keep children out of the street for their safety and to keep the parade running smoothly.

“If kids are in the street it makes it harder to turn the floats,” he said. Volunteers will walk along the route to make sure everyone stands back.

Thrash recommends getting there early to get a good spot. He said 9th and 11th streets are popular viewing areas.

Festivities will continue after the parade on the Augusta Common with vendors and live music.

In Aiken, the 71st running of the Aiken Trials is set to begin at 2 p.m., with gates opening at 10 a.m.

There will be vendors and concessions and a tent party will kick off at 11 a.m. The carriage parade will begin at 1 p.m.

A mariachi band will stroll the grounds performing and there will be a variety of activities for the whole family, including a hat contest.

“Come early and bring your families,” said event spokesman Cecil Atchley. “We look forward to everyone coming out and having a really great time.”

Athletic types or even casual walkers can start Saturday at one of five charitable 5K runs or walks, which are being held at outdoor venues from Evans to North Augusta.

Events include walks to benefit the American Heart Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Another popular event competing for attendees is the 30th annual Augusta Invitational Regatta. About 14 rowing teams are expected to compete in races on Langley Pond beginning at 8:10 a.m.

Saturday’s events

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration
When: 2-9 p.m.
Where: Following the annual parade on Broad Street, an Irish heritage festival will be held in the Augusta Common with food, vendors, children’s attraction and live music.
Cost: Free
More info: For parade information, call (706) 589-3830. For celebration information, call (706) 821-1754.

Aiken Triple Crown: Aiken Trials
When: Gates open at 10 a.m. The tent party starts at 11 a.m., and opening ceremonies are at 1 p.m.
Where: Aiken Training Track, 538 Two Notch Road SE
Cost: $10 plus $10 parking in advance; $15 plus $15 parking at the gate
More info: Visit aikentrainingtrack.com

Augusta Ballet: Pilobolus Dance Theatre
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Imperial Theatre, 749 Broad St.
What: A presentation of the Pilobolus Dance Theatre, which uses unique, collaborative dance moves to create surprising and memorable works.
Cost: Between $10 and $75
More info: Visit augustaballet.org

Augusta Invitational Regatta
When: Races start at 8:10 a.m.
Where: Langley Pond, Langley, S.C.
Cost: Free
More info: www.augustarowingclub.org

The Great Wesley Chase 5K
Wesley United Methodist Church
Details: Registration 8 a.m.; $25, striders/students/military $17, kids half-mile $12; benefits youth mission project; patty@wesleyumc.net

Alex’s House Running for the Least of These 5K Run/Walk
North Augusta Greeneway
Details: Begins 9 a.m.; $30 advance, $35 race day; benefits Alex’s House Orphanage in Haiti; breakfast by Chick-fil-A of North Augusta; strictlyrunning.com

WalkMS
Lake Olmstead Park
Details: Registration 9 a.m.; no registration fee; benefits National MS Society; music, food, family atmosphere; register at walkMSgeorgia.org, call Amy Ingram at (706) 832-2300 or e-mail amyingram@hotmail.com

Ticker Trot 5K
Augusta Canal
Details: Registration 9 a.m.; $25 advance, $30 race day; benefits the American Heart Association; register at active.com or e-mail chtorres@gru.edu

Brain Injury Awareness Walk
Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Details: Registration 10 a.m.; $20, $10 for brain injury survivors; benefits the Augusta Brain Injury Support Group; T-shirt and lunch included for first 200 participants; (706) 829-0370 or patty.goolsby@thementornetwork.com


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