LUMBERTON — Competitive runners, determined cyclists, casual walkers, and all kinds of music and fun will invade the city’s downtown area Saturday and Sunday as the annual Rumba on the Lumber shows off its 2017 edition.
Jef Lambdin, Rumba coordinator, wants festival-goers to be aware that Rumba is in a new location.
“The big news is we’ve moved one block north,” Lambdin said.
In the past the festival, which was born in the 80s as a race, was centered on Third Street, but concerns over construction forced a move to Fourth Street, Lambdin said.
Race registration will be in the parking lot at Third and Chestnut streets. Lori Dove, of Southeastern Heath, will be the starter for the races.
Many annual events will once again be front and center including the Rumba on the Lumber Festival with music, vendors, Rumba games exhibition, and the Lumbee River EMC Free Kidzone at the Lumberton Downtown Plaza on Saturday. For runners and walkers, Saturday’s events include the The Southeastern Health 5K, 10K and Fun Mile.
On Sunday, runners give way to bicycle riders. Cycling enthusiasts can participate in the 100-kilometer Ride Robeson Metric Century event, the 20-Mile Bicycle Adventure and the Family Fun 5K.
And what is the Rumba without the annual chili cook-off?
The Bud Light North of the Border Chili Cook-Off takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can go to the parking lot at Water Street between Fourth and Fifth streets and taste the chili concoctions prepared by about 20 competitors who will be vying for awards in such categories as the Spiciest Chili, the Strangest Ingredient and Best School Chili.
“Budweiser has a giant monster truck. It’s 11 feet wide, 30 feet long and 11 feet tall,” Lambdin said. “And it will be at the chili-cookoff. We just found out about it an hour ago. We are excited about it.”
While sampling chili, festival-goers will be serenaded by local favorite Blackwater Rhythm and Blues Band. The band took the Group of the Year award at the 2016 Carolina Beach Music Awards.
Festival-goers who want to test their fitness levels can compete Saturday for the title Fittest in Robeson by being part of the Rumba Games. Competition includes the Southeastern Health 5K at 9 a.m. and Strength and Metcon competitions on the Courthouse Plaza. Prizes will be awarded to the top team in men’s and women’s divisions. Proceeds from entry fees will benefit Hurricane Matthew relief efforts.
Saturday, March 4 events:
— Southeastern Health 5K & 10K, 9 a.m.
— Lumbee River EMC Free Kidz Zone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
— Business, craft and food vendors, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
— Southeastern Health Free Family Fun Run/Walk, 11 a.m.
— Bud Light Chili Cook-off, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
— Concert on the Courthouse Plaza, 2 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 events:
— Yamaha of Lumberton Metric Century (100 kilometer cycling ride), 12 p.m.
— Cruzbike 20-Mile Adventure Ride, 1:30 p.m.
— Family Fun Ride/Rodeo, sponsored by The Bicycle Shop, 3:30 p.m.
The starting site for Sunday’s cycling activities will be Northeast Park.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974.