If only everything in life was this organized.
Bloomsday runners picking up their packets Friday in downtown Spokane found short lines, tons of exhibits and four pins fastened together in every race bag.
“It’s so organized that it’s almost too easy,” said Coeur d’Alene resident Ellen Frantz, filling out a late registration form at the Ag Trade Center.
About 1,300 other late registrants paid their $20 late fee, including her husband Daniel, a chiropractor.
“I almost didn’t because they raised the late fee,” he grumbled, “But my back is fine for the first time in two years. I realized I didn’t want to miss it this year.”
Race time weather should be partly sunny with a temperature of about 53, according to the National Weather Service.
As of Friday evening, about 56,335 runners had registered.
More than half that many people strolled or rushed their way through the Ag Trade and Convention Center Friday.
They sampled granola bars, eyed this year’s running-shoe styles or found out where exactly they’re supposed to be when the race starts at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Bloomsday volunteer Jim Moore, manning the exhibit hall information desk, was handling questions at a pace of one per minute.
“I’ve done this for 10 years now. It may look the same, but each year, the crowd is different.”
Moore said Friday’s throng had three main questions:
“Where’s the STA booth (where people can get discounts for round-trips to and from the race)?
“What time is it?”
“And how do I get out of this place?”
By Sunday morning, an estimated 120,000 people will have filed through the Bloomsday trade show.
Organizers said this year’s race registration should be slightly above last year’s 59,801.
After years of watching the crowds, volunteer Moore said he’s found a pattern to which people come during the pre-race packet pickups.
“During the day and afternoon, you get the working professionals and downtown group.
“Around evening, the kids come in with their parents.
“And Saturday morning, it’s the Ma and Pa Kettle Crowd,” he said, meaning area farmers and families, coming early and usually checking out nearly every display.
Trade show coordinator Lori Shauvin said the number of exhibitors increased this year to about 140. “It’s also better. There’s more quality, less junk on display,” she said.
No matter who wins the race, the person leading the name parade this year is Spokane’s Maude-Saud Aaaaababaca.
Aaaaababaca, a North Side resident, leads the alphabetical list of this year’s entrants.
At the very end is Eric Zzygyer, a Colorado Springs runner.
For those looking for personalities, here are two Bloomsday runners guaranteed to show up:
U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt registered in the orange start group.
U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, who’s going to start somewhere in the yellow elites.
The trade show continues today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The unofficial Bloomsday carbo dinner starts at 4 p.m. and runs until 8 at the Sheraton-Spokane Hotel.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: BLOOMSDAY FACTS The Lilac Bloomsday Run is Sunday morning, but activities surrounding the race are scheduled all weekend. Check in. Runners may pick up their race numbers and packets today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ag Trade Center. Out-of-town runners may pick up theirs Sunday at 7 a.m. Late registration. For $20, participants can sign up for the race today at the late registration desk in the Ag Trade Center. Trade show. The Bloomsday annual trade show continues today until 8 p.m. at the Convention Center. Parking. Lots of parking space is available on the north bank of the river and south of the central downtown core, both on the street and in commercial lots. Streets closed. The police department will close streets on the race course starting at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The closures include Lincoln and Monroe streets. Vehicles left parked on the race course will be towed starting at 6 a.m. Buses. As an alternative to driving, the Spokane Transit Authority offers Bloomsday shuttle buses to downtown starting at 6:30 a.m. Cash fare is $1 each way for the special expresses. Roundtrip sticker passes may be purchased for $1 at the Bloomsday Trade show; the Bus Shop, 510 Parkade Plaza; the Bus Shop, Too, 1229 West Boone, and the Valley Transit Center at Fourth and University. Worship. The Bloomsday worship service will be at 7:30 a.m. Sunday in the Lilac Bowl at Riverfront Park. TV-Radio. Live coverage is planned by several stations, and the day’s wrap-up will be aired at 5 p.m. on KXLY-TV. Race results. Finishers will receive a postcard from the Bloomsday association listing their time and place. The Spokesman-Review will publish a complete list of finishers in a special edition Monday afternoon and in the regular editions Tuesday morning.