Welcome to The Big Cheese 5K! Whether you’ve been with us from our humble beginnings in 2010 or are new to this “Cheesy Experience,” we are so glad to have you as a part of the race.

Welcome to River Rat Weekend !!

For over 50 years the Towns of Athol and Orange have been celebrating the 2nd Saturday in April and we are happy you are a part of the party.

Here is a list of River Rat related activities that you might want to check out as well as links to places to stay and eat while you’re here.

Pancake breakfast – Start your Saturday off right with a stack of pancakes at the Athol Congregational Church. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m.

Parade – Watch community bands, floats, and fire trucks as they wind their way down a short route along Main Street. The Promenade ends at the Lord Pond Plaza on Main Street where the Disabled American Veteran’s Organization sponsors a carnival.

Carnival – Ride the rides and test your skills at various midway games for all ages with the Fanelli Brothers Carnival.

River Rat Race, the Start — Considered the Main Event to most of the locals. By 12:30 spectators and paddlers alike are flanking the Millers River. A cannon blast starts the race at 1 p.m. sharp and watching 200 plus canoes shoot under the South Main Street Bridge without incident is always a thrill.

River Rat Race, the Finish – Once the canoes clear the Athol Town Line spectators find their way to Hache’s Landing to watch the canoes cross the finish line. The fun continues with plenty of food trucks and vendors to try.

Parking Options

-Municipal Lot, located off Exchange Street across from our Sponsor the Blind Pig.
-School & South Street Lot, across from YMCA’s side entrance
-Upper Municipal Lot, on Traverse Street
-Starrett’s Parking Lot, on Crescent Street near corner of Main Street.
-Athol Public Library and Town Hall lot, access from Marble and Island Streets.

When choosing a parking spot please be aware that Main Street remains closed from Crescent Street to Freedom Street till the parade is finished.
(the highlighted road is closed during the parade)