You can take aim at one bit of newfangled fun this year at the Johnson-Witkemper Insurance Finish On Fourth Mill Race Marathon After Party.

Consider the Redneck Shooting Gallery, where everyone can be just a yee-haw, good ol’ boy or girl, pulling the trigger on simple silliness with laser guns.

The target for the latest addition to the free unwind-with-the-clan event along Washington Street in downtown Columbus, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, is to offer yet another entertainment outlet, Steve Leach said. He’s owner of the local Garage Pub & Grill, and also one of the organizers of the gathering that drew an estimated 7,500 people or more last year.

“This is all the runners and their posses, friends and family,” Leach said.

Leach works with Kurt Schwarze, co-owner of the local Fourth Street Bar & Grill, and others to plan the party. They understand that the gathering that has been so popular that it requires few tweaks.

“Everything seems to work pretty well,” Leach said. “It’s a celebration of the marathon, and the fact that a town our size can pull off such a world-class event. And how many events do you see where people are giving away a $60,000 truck?”

Well, there is that — big enough that it attracts the day’s largest crowd of several thousand people hoping to accelerate their good fortune at the close of the after party.

A Cummins Inc.-powered RAM 2500 Crew Cab Heavy-duty pickup truck will be given to one person from the half or full marathon.

“It’s a wonderful finale to a great day,” Leach said.

Three live bands — Flat Earth, The Cosmic Situation and one-man ensemble Michael Kelsey — will provide music, and about 20 vendors will offer a variety of food and drinks.

Plus, Columbus Massage Center will offer free massages for the runners. Columbus Acupuncture will perform free acupuncture for runners. Indiana Podiatry group will offer free exams. Andy Spurling will be engraving medals for a nominal fee.

In the kids zone, the springy Eurobungee harness returns, which has been especially popular with younger children.

“This is a celebration of Columbus in general,” Leach said, “and that’s something we’ve been doing all summer with Exhibit Columbus and the ‘Columbus’ movie.”

The finish lineup

WHAT: The Johnson-Witkemper Insurance Mill Race Marathon Finish on Fourth After Party, open to all. Organizers are promising a music marathon to celebrate the community and its accomplishments. On top of popular live bands playing Saturday, there will be street entertainers and family fun. Downtown restaurants will set up booths and have familiar fare available. Columbus Massage Center will offer free massages for the runners. Columbus Acupuncture will perform free acupuncture for runners. Indiana Podiatry group will offer free exams. Andy Spurling will be engraving medals for a nominal fee.

WHEN: Saturday.

WHERE: Downtown along Washington Street.

COST: Entry to the event is free, but food and drinks will be available for purchase, and the Eurobungy and stunt jump will cost a few dollars.

BEER AND WINE SALES: Beer and wine will be available for purchase at the Finish on Fourth After Party, but beverages cannot leave the barricades set up around Fourth and Washington streets.

RESTROOMS: Portable restrooms will be available.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: Call 911 or seek assistance at a medical station set up on Fourth Street between Washington and Franklin streets.

SCHEDULE:

8 a.m.: Vendors will begin serving a variety of food as well as adult beverages. No charge for admission.

9 a.m: Family Fun Area opens, featuring Eurobungee, two bounce houses and a Wild West-style laser shooting gallery. Nominal fees for Eurobungee and shooting gallery. Plus face painting and balloon animals.

9 to 11:30 a.m.: Music from Cosmic Situation.

9:30 a.m.: 5K awards and 5K bike drawing

11:30 a.m.: Marathon and half-marathon awards

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Music from Michael Kelsey

2:30 to 5 p.m.: Music from band Flat Earth

4 p.m.: RAM truck drawing

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.