For many years, my favorite summer kick-off events is to go to the International Professional Cycling Championship. Philadelphia has been hosting the race for 25 years the first weekend in June. It was nearly lost this year, but the tour secured some last minute funding.
The course runs 156 miles, which is 10 laps from the Art Museum to Manayunk and back. Between 5-6 hours in a bike saddle is a pure endurance test. Women also race in the "Liberty Classic", a shorter 100 miles course, but with the same lap distance.
Near the Art Museum, the "feed zone" and vendor area are constantly buzzing with activity and are just steps from grand stands and great views of the sprint to the finish line. I always load up on free samples of nutritional products, sports drinks, and local interest giveaways.
Also across from and on the steps of the Art Museum is the VIP/main sponsor activity area. Dancing mascots, face painting, water ice, cow bells, back bags, rock climbing, crafts, all free, just to name a few things TD Bank shared.
I haven't been to the Manayunk leg of the race in years, but they open their arms and bottles for the day and make it a huge neighborhood party.
I can't remember the event ever being rained out. The weather is usually perfect too, making the day out in Philly even more memorable.