As athletes from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond anticipate IRONMAN Maryland later this month, business owners in Cambridge are busy making plans to roll out the red carpet.

Welcome to Cambridge IRONMAN Maryland!Registration for the race begins Thursday, September 18, so visitors will have a couple of days before the Saturday event to explore the area, eat in local restaurants and shop in boutiques and galleries.

“IRONMAN Maryland will see an influx of visitors during race week as many of the athletes will be accompanied by their families,” said race director Gerry Boyle. “Families will have a lot of “down” time and we hope that our merchants, their businesses and other attractions will significantly benefit from these visitors.”

Bernie Elliott of Elliot’s Baking Company is planning to offer new menu items beginning Thursday before the race, including multigrain muffins, baked potatoes, and pasta dishes. “As a business owner, I’m counting down the minutes until IRONMAN Maryland begins,” she said with a smile. “I think it’s going to be great for downtown businesses.”

A Few of My Favorite Things is creating a special IRONMAN cheese board and grilled cheese menu and sangria slushies in addition to their signature selection of wine, cheese and chocolate. Owners Carol Levy Ruark and Joe Ruark hope to provide a peaceful experience during what promises to be an energy-filled weekend. “This is a place to relax, regroup and socialize peacefully,” said Joe. “We’re thankful that IRONMAN chose to come to Cambridge and we’re excited to welcome them.”

Further up the street, two non-food establishments are working to create special experiences to attract visitors into their stores.

Ashley Banks of the children’s boutique Sur Jeudi will create a themed window display and offer interactive activities for kids. “Friday, September 19, is International Talk like a Pirate Day,” she explained. “My daughter thinks it’s a great idea to have Pirate-related crafts, so that’s one thing we’ll be doing Friday and Saturday in the shop.” In addition, the turnaround for the run portion of the race will be right in front of the Sur Jeudi entrance on Poplar Street, Ashley pointed out. “That’s why my window design is going to bring it!”

At LIVAGAIN, co-owner Jermaine Anderson and manager Armah Dashiell have plans for a fitness-themed, live music performance by local artist Antone “The General” Ennels from his new CD, “Blood, Sweat and IRON.”

“When I heard IRONMAN Maryland was coming I said, we’re going to find a way to fit into this,” explained Jermaine. “I grew up with Antone here in Cambridge. He is doing something really special through music and his organization IRON ARMY to transform fitness into a way of life. And it fits in with our message here at LIVAGAIN—that life is all about mind, body, soul and spirit. Saturday evening everyone is invited to see The General perform his first single, “Never Give Up” in the upstairs gallery. If we can touch one kid that weekend with this message that means a lot.”

With less than three weeks to go until IRONMAN Maryland, Cambridge is abuzz with planning. One thing is for sure…when the estimated 4,500 visitors begin arriving on Thursday, September 18, they will find a welcoming town with lots of fun and interesting things to do.

Are you planning something special for IRONMAN Maryland weekend? Let us know at www.facebook.com/IRONClubMD.

IRONClub of Maryland wishes to thank its founding members: At the Elite Level: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, the Triathlete Level: R. Brooks & Son, Whitten Insurance Agency, MTS Broadcasting, The Dorchester Banner, Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery, Mike & Dale Scharder, Chad Malkus, Sharon Borg Wall, at the Eagelman Level: Brad & Debbie Bolino, M&T Bank, Cambridge International, BBSI, Holiday Inn Express, Bay Country Communication, Preston Automotive Group, Cambridge Family Eye Care, Upper Shore Regional Council, H&M Bay Inc, Dorchester County Family YMCA, Language Works, Inc., Addie Eckardt and Tri Gas & Oil.