ST. CLOUD -- The 20th annual Earth Day Run weekend is coming up on Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th.  Organizers are expecting over 5,500 runners to participate in the various runs including the 5K, the Half Marathon, and the Half Marathon Relay.

After 19 years of holding the event at St. Cloud State University, the weekend activities have been moved to downtown St. Cloud this year with a hope of getting more community members engaged.

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Here are a few ideas of how you can join in the fun -- even if you're not running:

#1 - VOLUNTEER
There are a lot of different volunteer opportunities still available from helping to set-up, to getting the runners signed-in, to helping the runners while they are out on the course.  Here is a link to more information and for you to sign-up for a shift.

#2 - JOIN A CHEER ZONE
Applicants must be a charitable organization. Selected applicants will receive a $150 stipend for participating in one of the cheer zones. In addition, each group will compete for prize money and the coveted “North Risk Partners Best Cheer Zone” award. Three prizes will be awarded: 1st prize $500, 2nd prize $200, 3rd prize $100.  Here is the link to apply to be an official cheer zone.

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#3 - ATTEND THE POST RACE PARTIES
A stage will be set-up (weather permitting) in the parking lot on the corner of 5th Avenue and St. Germain Street, just to the west of the River's Edge Convention Center.  Enjoy live music as you watch the runners cross the finish line.  The band Walter's Wheelhouse will be on stage from 6:30 p.m.until 8:30 p.m. on Friday and the band IV Play will be on stage from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.  It is absolutely free to listen to the band, and beer and food will be available for you to buy.

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#4 - CHECK OUT THE HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO
This year it is in the River's Edge Convention Center running from noon until 8:00 p.m. on Friday and from 6:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday.  Local, regional and national vendors will be selling, sampling and showing off the latest products from the world of running and fitness.  This event is free and open to the public.

#5 - BRING THE FAMILY TO THE KIDS EXPO
The free expo will have interactive and engaging activities for all ages and abilities; including a bicycle rodeo, pedal cars, and seed planting.

Who knows maybe after a year of enjoying the various events from the sidelines you'll be inspired to sign-up for one of the runs during next year's Earth Day Run weekend.