It might be the most entertaining run you ever go on.
Opera singers and ballet dancers, jugglers, blues musicians and other artists will perform along the route of the Ballet Wichita 5K Art Run, which begins and ends along the Arkansas River.
And participants can enjoy even more entertainment when they finish during a post-race party.
Barbara Chamberlin, Ballet Wichita’s executive director, said organizers realize there will be some serious runners among those who turn out for the event. For that reason, all extracurricular activities will be located where they don’t interfere with the progress of the race.
But Chamberlin said many other participants will take a more relaxed approach to the run.
“What we’re seeing in road races is that with many young professionals, it’s not that they’re not absorbed in running, but they like healthy events that also have some kind of happening, like a festival,” she said.
And that’s exactly what Ballet Wichita plans to provide.
The nonprofit has invited other local arts organizations, including the Wichita Blues Society, to showcase their talents, as well.
“The purpose of this is to not only be a fundraiser for Ballet Wichita, but we realize that for many years there has been a very good partnership among the different arts organization that is appreciated by everybody,” Chamberlin said. “It’s better when we work together.”
The idea is that the more types of art that people are exposed to, the better chance they’ll want to get involved as volunteers, donors, participants or spectators.
“We want them to say, ‘Did you see those dancers over that hill? Or ‘Did you see that mime?’ ”
It won’t just be arts groups, either. At the Exploration Place water station, for instance, Stormtroopers from the museum’s current “Star Wars” exhibit will greet runners, Chamberlin said.
Actors and visual artists also are expected to be stationed along the race route. Jazz pianist John Salem and others will perform at the post-race party, where participants can munch on “everything from breakfast to pizza,” Chamberlin said. Food will be complimentary for runners, she said. In future years, organizers would like to expand to have vendors selling food to the crowd.
In addition to feeling good about getting some exercise, organizers hope participants come away feeling good about the city’s arts groups.
“It’s charming to be around people creating art,” Chamberlin said.