Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to converge on downtown St. Paul over the next three days to watch the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. Competitors will race on ice skates down the treacherous quarter-mile-long track, which is built near the St. Paul Cathedral. It's the third year in a row the event is taking place in St. Paul.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman took a turn on the Crashed Ice course on Wednesday, as he did in the two previous years. A couple of priests skated with Coleman, and after a short prayer, they all made it down safely.
The Crashed Ice event brings a huge economic boost to St. Paul, approaching $20 million, that visitors spend at restaurants, hotels, bars and other businesses.
The competition gets underway on Thursday afternoon with preliminary rounds, and the finals are on Saturday.
The parking situation will be a little bit dicey in the immediate area, so many downtown businesses are providing shuttle service to and from the Crashed Ice track. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a guide to getting around during the event this weekend.