Russ Rosler and I went to the North Market for lunch yesterday, and as we eating our excellent cassoulet we suddenly realized that everyone eating at the tables around us was big — with bulging biceps and tight shirts and thick necks. It was as if the normal schlubs eating at the North Market had been replaced with a bunch of weightlifters. We both quickly realized that “the Arnold” must be back in town, and indeed it is. Of course, the real name of the event is the The Arnold Sports Festival, and as usual it offers an enormous number of events, including bodybuilding competitions, “strong man” contests, powerlifting, mixed martial arts, arm wrestling, and just about any kind of fitness or health-related activity you can imagine. Dozens of exhibitors also offer all kinds of products that relate to health, fitness, and looking buff.
When you walk among the attendees at the Arnold you tend to feel like a puny wuss. It is a bit dispiriting, but the pudgy, year-long residents of Columbus gladly put up with a few days of feeling like pencil-necked geeks because the Arnold pumps — and I use that term advisedly — tens of millions of tourism dollars into the tills of the City’s hotels, restaurants, and other businesses and into the City’s tax coffers, too.
From what Russ and I saw yesterday, it looks like the Festival has had a good turnout despite the economy. I hope so, because it is a great event for Columbus.