Cannon Falls, MN
 
Stage #3 Cannon Falls Road Race, Thursday evening
 
What to Do: Bike the Cannon Valley Trail, kayak or tube down the Cannon River, fish, swim or go boating in nearby Byllesby Regional Park or Goodhue County Park, visit the Cannon Valley Winery.
 
Where to Eat: Restaurants in the Expo include: Dudley’s Pizza and Nick's Downtown Diner.  Other downtown restaurants include Chugger's Bar & Grill, Brewster's Tavern, and Mill Street Tavern. Enjoy award-winning wines at the Cannon River Winery; grab a treat and coffee at the Hi-Quality Bakery. Just south of the Expo area you’ll find Country Kitchen, Subway, and McDonalds. The Ferndale Market, at Hwy 52 and Co. 24, offers locally grown meats, dairy, produce, and specialty food items.
 
About Cannon Falls
Located 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities at the junction of the Big Cannon and Little Cannon Rivers, the town of Cannon Falls got its name from the French explorers who hid their canoes on the river they call Riviere aux Canots, the River of Canoes. Easterners, misunderstanding the French term “canots” believed they were saying "cannon", leading to the name, Cannon River.
 
In 1853 Richard and William Freeborn followed the river and found the falls, saying it looked like a rainbow in the sky. Finding fertile land and an active river, they kept the location a secret and returned in 1854 to settle the land. Incorporated in 1874, Cannon Falls became known for its many water powered flour mills. Although its working days are done, the Cannon River draws many visitors to its scenic views and recreational opportunities. The rich history of Cannon Falls is on display in the Cannon Falls Commercial Historic District. A member of the National Register of Historic places, the city center features 22 historical buildings.
 
Cannon Falls’ amazing surroundings offer plenty of chances for cycling enthusiasts to do what they love most. The centerpiece is the beautiful Cannon Valley Trail, recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful rail-to-trail conversions in the country. Stretching 19.7 miles from Cannon Falls to Red Wing, the trail welcomes over 100,000 visitors per year who enjoy the natural beauty and scenic overlooks as they hike, bike, skate or ski along the route. Wheel Passes for $4/day for persons 18 and older are available from vendors all over town. Bring your own set of wheels or rent one from Cannon Falls Canoe, Kayak and Bike Rental and enjoy the trail or the miles of scenic country roads the area has to offer.
 
Cannon Falls’ stunning natural beauty makes a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Visitors can purchase a fishing license at a family owned hardware store before heading to nearby Lake Byllesby Regional Park or Goodhue County Park to fish, boat or take a swim in the lakes. Kayak or tube down the Cannon River and experience the great cliffs and limestone bluffs or play a round of golf at the beautiful Cannon Golf Club.
 
From lodging to restaurants, shopping and more let the Cannon Falls Chamber of Commerce help you plan your next trip to Cannon Falls. http://www.cannonfalls.org/
 
About the Cannon Falls Road Race
Cannon Falls marks the start and finish of the third stage of the North Star Grand Prix – the Cannon Falls Road Race- and the first chance for the riders to hit the open road.  The 95-mile course takes riders through the rolling terrain of the region. The road course is highlighted by 3 Jelly Belly Sport Beans King/Queen of the Hills competitions and a vicious gravel section that has the potential to make or break the day for top contenders. The unseen nemeses in this stage are the infamous cross winds that buffet the peloton, stringing it out like a long climb. The race culminates with 4 finishing circuits around downtown Cannon Falls, giving spectators the opportunity to be a part of the action as they cheer the best riders in the world racing just inches away. Watch the riders along the course or enjoy the best of the North Star Bicycle Festival and Cannon Falls in the Expo.
 
Cannon Falls knows that a great family experience is what makes a bike race fun and has organized this year’s festival to be a blast for all ages. The Men’s race commences at 3:45 PM followed by the Women’s race at 4:00. The Expo opens at 4:30 PM with stunt riders and kids’ activities. At 6:00 the kids’ fun race takes off.  Two wheels, 3 wheels, self-propelled or pushed by dad; helmet-clad youngsters will all be proud to get a finishing medal as they make their way around a short selection of the circuit.  Then be ready with clappers, cowbells and cheering voices at approximately 6:45 when the men enter the downtown circuits and finish at 7:15 while the women enter the downtown circuits at 7:30 and blaze to their grand finale at around 8:00.