It won’t only be bikes gliding through downtown Wilmington Saturday as part of the Wilmington Grand Prix Criterium Races.
Bubbles will be, too.
The Grand Prix offers both professional and amateur races, and this year will add a community ride Saturday, which will mark the start of street festival along Market Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
As part of the festival, The Grand Opera House will offer a free Jeff Boyer Big Bubble Bonanza show — said to include bubble rainbows with people inside — at 12:15 p.m. in the baby grand after the Major Taylor Community Bike Ride, which starts at 11: 15 a.m. and ends at 11:45 a.m.
Audience members will make volcano bubbles, and the crowd will be treated to gigantic bubbles that blow their own bubbles,
Boyer, who is the Guinness Book of World Records-holding master bubble wrangler, mixes comedy, music and interactive bubble-magic to engage the whole family in a sensory-friendly show.
The bubble fun moves outside at 1 p.m. with free bubble activities on the sidewalk in front of The Grand.
As with many traditional events that were skipped for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, sponsors are delighted to have crowds headed back into the city.
“As part of The Grand’s reopening, the organization has prioritized accessibility as one of our emerging pillars of focus,” said Pam Manocchio, managing director. “This performance with Jeff Boyer is an important piece of our sensory friendly community engagement programming – whereby we provide opportunities for patrons of all abilities to join us at the theater. We invite all in our community to join us for this fun and free family event. Get here early, though, as only 200 seats are available!”
While Market Street will be blocked off to vehicles for the race and the street festival, patrons can still park in the garage at the DoubleTree Hotel but need to enter from the Walnut street side. Here’s a map.
The Grand also will sponsor a sensory rest zone in the baby grand lobby from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The facility offers bathrooms as well.
A criterium is a bike race of a specified number of laps held on a closed course on public roads.
The Grand Prix will be running races Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15 in and around Wilmington.
On Friday night, the Monkey Hill Time Trial takes place. It’s a 3.2-mile race through Wilmington’s Brandywine Park.
On Saturday, amateur races beginning at 11 a.m. end with Women’s Pro and Men’s Pro races in the afternoon.
Sunday brings back the 9th annual Governor’s Ride and 8th Annual Delaware Gran Fondo, both starting at 8 a.m.
The last Gran Fondo attracted cyclists from 19 states including Texas, Colorado and Florida and six countries including Australia, Great Britain, Mexico and Canada.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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