SOMERVILLE, NJ – The calendar says the first day of summer is June 21, but as usual, Somerville can’t wait, getting an early start on the outdoor fun Memorial Day weekend in the borough whose name is spelled differently but which is synonymous with summer family activities.
Visitors and residents come to run, to cycle, listen to music and show off on Main Street.
Memorial Day weekend in Somerville has a wide variety of events which began Thursday night May 23 with the 14th annual Legal Runaround sponsored by the Somerset County Bar Association.
The sanctioned 5K Run, a 3K Poker Run, sprints on the courthouse lawn for kids and related activities registered hundreds of runners and began at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Somerset County Administration building at 20 Grove St. The race course wended its way through the the neighborhoods in the eastern side of the borough.
Friday night May 24 begins the summer-long Cruizers’ Night, with hundreds of hot rods, restored classics and muscle cars rumbling in to town where they’ll be parked on both sides of Main Street beginning early in the afternoon through the evening. Thousands pack the sidewalks for a closer look at these iconic beauties from another era.
The 20th annual Bound Brook Criterium bicycle race takes place Saturday, May 25, 2019, in downtown Bound Brook as a precursor to the Monday, May 27th main event in downtown Somerville.
The Criterium will feature 500 cyclists, new state championship events and a family fun ride.
The Criterium race schedule includes 11 men’s and women’s categories sanctioned by New Jersey Bicycling Association and USA Cycling. For the first time, Bound Brook Criterium will serve as the site for NJ State Criterium Championships in all Senior Categories.
The 1-mile Criterium course extends through downtown Bound Brook and is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at Van Horne Plaza in front of Bound Brook train station on Main Street. Races begin at 9 a.m. with the feature event, the New Jersey Senior State Championships, and last through 5 p.m.
A “Family Fun Ride” is available from 8-8:45 a.m. on the Criterum race course; streets are safely closed so families can ride bicycles with no automobile traffic. Family Fun Ride is open to all residents with a $5 fee per family or group that supports Bound Brook Recreation Department. Free bike checks are provided prior to and during the ride.
“Bound Brook is thrilled to host the competitors and their many fans as we honor our veterans during Memorial Day Weekend,” says Lawrence McCullough, downtown manager for Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership. “Tour of Somerville is a premiere cycling event that brings a significant economic benefit to businesses throughout the borough.”
Back in Somerville on Saturday night music returns to the Division Street pedestrian mall, with free concerts weekly hosted by the Somerville School of Rock in conjunction with the Downtown Somerville Alliance.
On Sunday, May 26, there will be high-speed sprint races on Main Street, a prelude to Monday’s 76th Tour of Somerville
The Somerville Sprint Races feature a men’s and women’s category, with a total of 75 racers sprinting ¼ mile down West Main Street from a dead stop, crossing the finish line at upwards of 50 mph They will be vying for purses of $2,000 and $1,000 in several categories. Races begin at 6 p.m. and will continue under the lights.
The Memorial Day weekend is capped off on Monday, May 27, with the 76th annual Tour of Somerville bicycle races, an all-day event kicking off with preliminary races beginning at 1030 a.m., leading up to the main events, the Ladies race at 3 p.m. and the men’s race at 4 p.m., each with a $10,000 purse.
Bicycle racers from as far away as California, Texas, Canada, Europe, South America and Australia are expected to compete.
America’s oldest, continuously run bicycle race is a series of races that will attract top amateur and professional cyclists from throughout the world, as well as thousands of spectators to the streets of downtown Somerville.
The featured “Kugler-Anderson Memorial” 50-mile men’s race will begin at 4 p.m. with 200 elite cyclists negotiating a multi-lap, four-turn circuit at speeds of up to 40 mph. Last year’s winner, Olympic team hopeful Shane Kline of Bally, Pa. will return to defend his title.
The race is named in honor of its first two winners, Furman Kugler of Somerville (1940, 1941) and Carl Anderson of Clifton, NJ (1942). The race was suspended during World War II, where both men lost their lives, and renewed in 1947 and named in their honor.
Throughout the day, cyclists will be vying for more than $25,000 in cash prizes and the honor of winning what many consider to be the “Kentucky Derby” of bicycle racing. Prior to the featured men’s event, preliminary races of varying lengths will start at 10:30 a.m. for USA Cycling licensed cyclists of various age and skill levels. The junior competition for riders ages 15-18 will also be designated as the N.J. State Criterium Championships.
The 25-mile Pro/Category 1 women’s race will begin at 3 p.m. and attract top professional teams from throughout North America. Last year’s winner, Laura Van Gilder, of Cresco, Pa. will attempt to add an unprecedented sixth Tour of Somerville victory to her list of more than 350 career wins.
Along with a full slate of bicycle racing on Monday, event organizers have planned day-long activities that include musicians, food vendors, educational exhibits, a kid’s play area. The Kid’s Sports & Entertainment Zone with a variety of family fun activities takes place on Main Street in front of the County Courthouse and is sponsored by Atlantic Health System. The live musical entertainment takes place on the Division Street pedestrian mall.