A loosening of the state’s public health guidelines, announced recently by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, has paved the way for the return of two traditional and popular pieces of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend will be held June 17-19, 2021.

Based on the governor’s expected timeline of eliminating capacity limits and distancing requirements, organizers say they will now be able to welcome spectators on race weekend and host a post-race celebration.

“Those things were crossed off pretty early in our planning process based on the previous guidelines, and the result was going to be a very different feeling come race weekend” executive director Shane Bauer said. “Bringing those pieces back will not only amplify the experience of our participants, but it’s great for our community members who wait all year to be part of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.”

Spectators were originally discouraged from attending this year’s Grandma’s Marathon, but the updated guidance will now allow those who wish to watch the races to do so.

The post-race celebration will be in a new location this year, moving from near the finish line in Canal Park to Bayfront Festival Park. Live musical acts will be featured throughout race day, and admission will be free for all ages in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Grandma’s Marathon.

Amid the excitement of what the new guidelines allow, organizers want to remind anyone planning on participating, volunteering, or attending Grandma’s Marathon that personal responsibility will still play a major role in the weekend’s overall success.

Masks or face coverings, according to the expected guidelines, will be required in all race-controlled areas with more than 500 people in attendance.

Organizers expect that to include the start and finish areas, Bayfront Festival Park, the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, and the Essentia Health Fitness Expo.

As in the originally released plan, participants will not be required to wear a mask or face covering while actively participating in their race.

Five local groups will take the stage at Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, June 19 as part of the 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

The all-day celebration, which is free and open to all ages, was moved to Bayfront this year from its traditional place near the finish line in Canal Park.

Rock-a-Billy-Revue will kick the off the live show at 9 a.m. Saturday and be followed throughout the day by Boxcar, Whiskey Trail, and Big Wave Dave & The Ripples.

Participants in both Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will receive a free drink ticket after completing their race, and those tickets can be redeemed all day Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park.

Bayfront Festival Park will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. Sounds Unlimited will play music between sets, and a full lineup of the day’s live music is below:

• 9 a.m-noon – Rock-a-Billy Revue

• 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Boxcar

• 3-5 p.m. – Big Wave Dave & The Ripples

• 5:30-7 p.m. – Whiskey Trail

• 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Big Wave Dave & The Ripples

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