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Arnold Sports Festival Prepares For Flood Of Fans To Columbus

Arnold Sports Festival

The 2019 Arnold Sports Festival is returning to Columbus this weekend, along with hundreds of thousands fans. The event's organizers are putting together the final preparations in the hopes of having a smooth festival. 

Between February 28-March 3, about 25,000 people a day will visit the Greater Columbus Convention Center for this year’s festival. An estimated 200,000 will cheer on the festival’s athletes in their competitions throughout the city.

Spokesperson Brent LaLonde says they’ve been preparing since before last year’s Arnold.

“It’s a constant planning for the next one, wrapping up the previous one and then figuring out how to make each event bigger and better than the previous year,” LaLonde says. “We’ve already had discussion about 2020 and 2022 this past fall, so it is a never-ending process.”

The Arnold has a team of about 15 drivers running between the airport and the convention center. In addition to the traditional body building and weight lifting events, this year’s festival will also feature new events such as foosball, high school weightlifting, and a ninja warrior obstacle course that guests can participate in throughout the weekend.

“We want people to come here, have a good experience, have a good competitive experience and then just enjoy the celebration and learn about a whole lot of different sports that they wouldn’t otherwise see in one place,” LaLonde says.

And because such events often act as hubs for human trafficking, the Arnold will also host three anti-trafficking advocates and place information about trafficking at local hotels.