The Quad-City Times Bix 7 has always surrounded itself with music, with bands and performers playing along the course and at parties all day. Now the race will have Bix Beiderbecke-era music in its soundtrack for years to come.
The Heights of the Era, an all-day vintage music event new this year, has entered a partnership with the Quad-City Times Bix 7 to add more fun for participants and spectators during the race and after, the organizers announced Thursday.
"We're excited that we're able to partner up with another family-friendly event in the Quad-Cities," Race Director Michelle Juehring said.
Connecting the music event with the race is a natural fit, The Heights of the Era organizer Michelle Russell said. The partnership was inspired by the race's past but has the goal of creating something new.
Before the Bix 7 race came the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, which began in 1971. The festival used to be the same weekend, but later opted to move to a different weekend. The Heights of the Era is bringing vintage jazz back to the race in a new way.
"It was such a magical partnership of activity and arts for the whole community ... when they parted ways it was a loss to both, but mostly to the community," Russell said.
The Heights of the Era will begin at 7:45 a.m. at the racecourse turnaround, then move to Lindsay Park, 2200 E 11th St., at 9:30 a.m. Twelve acts made up of 54 artists will play until 10:30 p.m. in Lindsay Park.
Runners can bring their race bibs to the park and receive free brunch, lunch and a beer pass. Attending the event is free of charge for everyone, and people are encouraged to bring their own seating, food and drink if they wish. For non-runners, food will not be for sale, but donuts and hot dogs will be available for those who RSVP'd by July 20.
Free shuttles will run all day from the Bix 7 finish line and six other offsite parking areas.
Quad-City Times Publisher Debbie Anselm said that when she met Russell and heard about what she was doing, "her vision lines up exactly with the vision Michelle (Juehring) and I have for the Bix weekend and what it can be and should be and it just made sense to have a partnership between the organizations.
"I think this is the beginning of a long partnership between the organizations, and we're excited to see where this partnership will grow over the years," Anslem added.
After the height of the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to isolate and the race to go virtual, Juehring said having a full day of fun will be a welcome change.
"In a way, it's a homecoming for us all to remember," Juehring said.