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Downtown Merced is known for throwing events. Thus far in 2009, the Redevelopment Agency, City of Merced, Downtown Business Improvement District and the community at large showed their support of Downtown with three large scale events. More information can be found below:
Cap & Town '10
Another successful year for the Downtown merchants, the City of Merced and the event sponsors of the Cap & Town '10 Ultimate Block Party. Thousands of visitors, residents and students hit the streets of downtown for the one night event to honor the commencement of Merced area graduates. Held in the month of May, this 2nd annual event coincided with the graduations of the University of California, Merced, Merced College and local area high schools. There were up to 12,000 people patronizing Downtown Merced which rocked all night with music and fun. Festival attendance was in thousands with all activities being free including a three live stages with live bands and dance performances, a video game center, farmers market, craft fair, bounce houses, Army rock climbing wall and even a petting zoo. There was partying in the streets until 11pm. For more information, please contact the Redevelopment Agency at 209-385-6827.
Amgen Tour of California 2009
America's most successful cycling race, the recently expanded Amgen Tour of California, is a annual sports events. Expanded in 2009, both in duration and state footprint, this international, world-class cycling road race features elite professional teams and athletes from around the world competing for the highest prize purse of any cycling race in North America. Some 1.6 million visitors were expected to converge on the race throughout the state. The race has a potential state economic impact of $100 million. Hosts selected for the event include such cities as Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Modesto, Pasadena and Escondido.
On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, the City of Merced with support from local sponsorships, played host to 4th Stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. After days of rain soaked conditions, the skies opened up and shined on the Downtown starting gate. The 18 world class professional cycling teams, representing over 24 countries, began their loop on N Street at West 18th Street in front of the Merced Civic Center. Some 300 volunteers showed up to support the tour and to get a chance to witness the primer racing action. Cycling world champions like Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and Oscar Freire were on hand to sign autographs, take pictures and compete in the lengthy race. Some 10,000 people were expected to have attend the event in Merced.
In addition to the race, attendants were invited to participate in the street festival where vendors and community organizations were set up to provide food, products and entertainment. A community fun ride and children's carnival kept attendants occupied after the racers had left the downtown area.
View from the Civic Center
Lance Armstrong with Reporters
Previous stage leaders take off for celebratory lap
Street festival and community activities
Chalk drawings prior to race departure Cap and Town '09
This is one of the largest block parties that downtown Merced has ever seen. Thousands of visitors, residents and students hit the streets of downtown for a two day event to honor the commencement of Merced area graduates. Held in the month of May, this inaugural event coincided with the graduations of the University of California, Merced, Merced College and local area high schools. In addition, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the commencement of the 2009 class of U.C. Merced. Festival attendance was in thousands with all activities being free including a JumboTron, live bands, video game center, farmers market, craft fair, bounce houses, a "green technology" center, segway demonstrations, rock climbing wall, basketball tournaments, and nightly children's movies. Many vendor and merchants stayed open late under the lights as the crowds depleted far later than when the sun went down.
Crowds gather to watch the First Lady Michelle Obama deliver the commencement speech at U.C. Merced
Live performance from the Polynesian Dance Group
The United States Army set up a free rock climbing wall
Downtown Summer fest
The Downtown Summer fest was back for all of Merced to enjoy. This free downtown festival spanned eight weeks from June 18th to August 20th on Thursday evenings from 5-9pm. Visitors to downtown were greeted with live music, kids activities, a fresh certified farmers market and an arts fair. Attendance ranged from 750-2300 people per week. In addition, each week was themed to represent the varying characteristics and attributes of our community. Themes included a health fair, agriculture night and even a car show.