Pull out your Hawaiian shirts and leis, because the city is about to have some serious island vibes despite being nowhere near an ocean.

Columbus Days 2019 is underway this week and organizers are hoping the community comes out in full force to proudly represent this year’s “Aloha Columbus Days!” theme.

“It looks like it’s going to be a really nice weekend,” said Eve Jacobson, marketing director for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. “We sure hope it will be good weather so we can enjoy the whole weekend, people can come out to the square and celebrate Columbus and have a good time.”

So far, so good. The National Weather Service on Monday predicted the Columbus area should expect some chances for showers and thunderstorms during parts of Thursday and Friday, but otherwise, clear skies and sunshine through the week and weekend. Highs are expected to reach the mid-80s and lows should be in the upper 60s.

The nice weather will come in handy considering the number of events and activities that are planned as part of the festivities. Organizers have stayed true to the theme by planning several opportunities for people to celebrate in true Hawaiian style.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Pawnee Plunge, area kiddos can show off their balancing skills by competing in the “Flowrider competition.” Flowriding is a boardsport incorporating elements of surfing, bodyboarding, skateboarding, skimboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Flowriders ride on artificial waves that are technically called "sheet waves.”

“We thought that would be a good way to have fun with the theme,” Jacobson said.

The Hawaiian fun doesn’t stop there, though. Wicked Fun will put on a street dance starting at 7:30 p.m. on the 14th Street stage, and that will be followed by a yet-to-be-announced Hawaiian-themed movie night in Frankfort Square. The movie will be a family-friendly title so that people of all ages can watch and relax together.

“There’s fun for all ages Friday night,” Jacobson said. “I think that’s really great.”

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Island vibes will continue throughout the weekend. Saturday will see Teen Luau Karaoke from 9-11 p.m. on the Frankfort Square stage and Omaha-based band The Coconuts, known for their Tropical Island style-music, will perform at 11 a.m. Sunday on the 14th Street stage.

Although people can expect plenty of Hawaiian-themed events, the traditional activities that have made Columbus Days what they are still remain on tap.

The Columbus BBQ Classic, Corn Hole Tournament, “I’m a Little Cutie” Baby Show,” United Way Lazy River Duck Run and subsequent awards, prep band performances, the car show, the YMCA 1-Mile Color Run and the Chamber’s Agriculture Committee’s “Celebrate Ag Lunch” are among the many returning staples.

The celebration will conclude with the historic and popular Sunday parade at 3 p.m. through the downtown district. Last year’s parade happened with some wet weather, but event organizers are hoping Mother Nature will cooperate this time around. Jacobson said the chamber has 70 entries so far for the parade, noting most of the participants are incorporating Hawaii into their floats.

“We have a joke going that we don’t even like to mention that word,” Jacobson joked of rain. “The parade should really be fun.”

Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley said Columbus Days is always a source of pride for the community, adding that he hopes people will come out and enjoy the annual celebration.

“It’s a great way of bringing the community together,” Bulkley said. “I think it’s a good way to celebrate a lot of nice things Columbus has going on.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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Managing Editor

Matt Lindberg is an award-winning journalist and graduate of the University of Kansas.

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