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The busiest weekend of the summer is upon us in Racine County. You cheer on triathletes, watch hot air balloons, see lots of local art and support local theater. Come along with Real Racine.

Swim, cycle, run, cheer! You’re invited to make some noise this Sunday when the Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon returns to the lakefront. As many as 2,500 elite athletes are expected to compete in this swimming (1.2 miles), bicycling (56 miles) and running (13.1 miles) event that gets under way starting at 7 a.m. from North Beach, 100 Kewaunee St. This year, you can cheer on your favorites with FREE Real Racine pompons, thundersticks and signs. Pick yours up at North Beach Park on Sunday. Athletes check-in starts at 2 p.m. Friday at Festival Hall and continues all day Saturday. Follow this year’s triathlon action at:

Beautiful balloons. One of the year’s most colorful events — the 6th Annual Waterford Balloonfest — is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Evergreen School grounds, 817 W. Main St. Nearly 20 giant hot air balloons are expected to be launched Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning (weather permitting). The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday with an arts and crafts fair, kids activities, food, tethered balloon rides and helicopter rides. The Kids From Wisconsin put on a free show starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Be sure to stick around after dark when propane flames partially inflate the balloons and produce a beautiful glow. Free admission to the grounds. Parking is $5 or $10 depending on location. It’s presented by the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce and local sponsors. For the Balloonfest schedule, visit

Drums and bugles. If you love marching bands, you’ll want to catch the Lighthouse Brigade of Racine hosting the MACBDA (Mid-American Competing Band Directors Association) Semi-finals at Case High School Hammes Field, 7345 Washington Ave. Mount Pleasant. The two local Lighthouse Brigade bands and four other Wisconsin marching bands will perform starting at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is (at the gate) is $10 adults; $9 seniors and students. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Visit

For the family. Nationally known children’s entertainer Jeanie B! brings her show to the Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., at 6 p.m. Friday. This upbeat show has sing-alongs, dancing and interactive music. Tickets are $15 ($10 for Zoo members). See a preview at Tickets at 262-636-9189 or

Art is here. The Downtown Racine Art Walk (DRAW) showcases artists and art is more than two dozen Downtown locations from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Galleries, shops and other businesses will host artists and their works. Several artists will give demonstrations. You’ll also have an opportunity to view and bid on the original art for this year’s “Celebrate Racine” banners at 411 Main St. There is also free admission at the Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St. DRAW details at

Last chance. The Racine Theatre Guild’s presentation of “Little Shop of Horrors” has gotten great buzz but don’t wait too long to see it. This show’s final performances on the Theatre Guild stage, 2519 Northwestern Ave., are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “Little Shop” is based on a campy science fiction film and delivers laughs and terrific music. For tickets and show times, call 262-633-4218 or visit

Opening weekend. The Haylofters troupe of Burlington present “Avenue Q – The Musical.” It’s a laugh-out-loud story about a recent college grad who moves into a not-so-ordinary New York City neighborhood. “Avenue Q” is recommended for mature audiences. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Malt House Theatre, 109 N. Main St. “Avenue Q” continues weekends through July 31. Tickets at 262-763-9873 or

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...