DES MOINES, Iowa--Festivities surrounding the 103rd Drake Relays kick off this Friday, April 20, with the traditional Street Painting on the Drake University campus.
The tradition-rich Street Painting will take place Friday from 4-7 p.m. Students and staff members will bring the Relays to life as they paint the street by the corner of 27th Street and Carpenter Avenue for three hours commemorating the start of the Relays festivities on campus.
The week of Relays then kicks off Monday, April 23, with the 33rd Annual Beautiful Bulldog contest inside the Drake Fieldhouse. Judging runs from 10:45 a.m. to Noon, with the Pageant scheduled from Noon to 1 p.m.
In its three decades of existence, the Beautiful Bulldogs contest has changed little. The titles-Beautiful Bulldog, Miss and Mr. Congeniality, Best Dressed, Farthest from the Dog House, Youngest and Oldest-and winner's duties have remained constant. Entries have increased considerably in recent years, prompting organizers to select entrants by lottery from a pool of more than 100 Beautiful Bulldog hopefuls.
The Third Annual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark and the Drake Relays, a community street run for all ages and abilities, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24. A new course for the third year in a row will allow for optimum fan viewing while also maintaining the competitive balance necessary, by traveling in a horseshoe shape.
The starting line for the Grand Blue Mile will be situated on Locust Street near 13th Street, with runners traveling eastbound on Locust to 6th Ave., then left to Grand, and left again to follow Grand to the finish line at 13th. After doubling from Year 1 to Year 2, entries have set a new record already with days to go before the event. Entry fees are $15 for youth ages 10-17, and $30 for adults. Fees increase to $25 and $40, respectively, after Sunday, April 22. Visit www.grandbluemile.com for registration and spectator information.
Wednesday, April 25, marks one of the busier days during relays week, as two unique events take place off campus on the same day events begin in the stadium with the first day of the heptathlon and decathlon.
For the third year in a row, Downtown Street Painting, modeled after the on-campus tradition, will take place in the Court Avenue Entertainment District from 12-4:30 p.m.
At 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, the fourth edition of the popular Pole Vault in the Mall takes place at Jordan Creek Town Center. Sponsored by HyVee, this year's event will feature the No. 1-ranked women's pole vaulter in the world, Jenn Suhr.
Finally, the annual downtown Court Avenue Block Party on April 27 will start at 7 p.m. and end at 12:30 a.m. Court Avenue will be closed between 3rd and 4th Streets to present live music from the group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. This event is free and open to the public.
For a closer look at Drake Relays Week festivities, please click here.