Contact: Dana McCoy
It's time once again for area kids to put on their running shoes as the 25th annual Great Pumpkin Dash Cross Country Festival is just around the corner! The Pumpkin Dash sponsored by CGH Medical Center, the Sterling Park District, and Kunes Country Auto Group will take place on Saturday, October 1st at Hoover Park in Sterling. On-site registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues throughout the morning. The first race begins at 11 a.m.
"The Pumpkin Dash is a great fall tradition," said Dr. Paul Steinke, President and CEO of CGH Medical Center. "It is a chance for kids of all ages to be active outdoors and enjoy many activities with their family and friends." Participants are grouped by age and run dashes of various lengths throughout the day. "The race lengths range from 25-meters for the pee-wees (walkers under the age of 2) to 1000-meters for 10, 11 and 12 year olds," said Sterling Park District Director Larry Schuldt. "The winner of each heat receives a larger pumpkin, but the first 1000 finishers will receive a small pumpkin from Selmi's Pumpkin Patch. We just want everyone to come out, get a little exercise and, most importantly, have a lot of fun." In addition to the pumpkin, runners also receive a coupon redeemable for free lunch at the Sterling Optimist Club food tent and giveaways!
Approximate start times for each age group are as follows: 11 a.m. – Pee Wee Race (walkers under the age of 2); 11:15 a.m. – 3 year olds; 11:30 a.m. – 4 & 5 year olds; 12 noon – 6 & 7 year olds; 12:30 p.m. – 8 & 9 year olds; and 1 p.m. – 10, 11 & 12 year olds.
While the main emphasis of Pumpkin Dash is on the races, there are many other activities the whole family can enjoy. Here is a list of what to expect:
- Miller's Petting Zoo
- Bounce Houses
- Hayrack Wagon rides
- Face painting
- Ambulance tours conducted by the CGH Medical Center EMS Department
- Pumpkin Photos
- And more!
"Pumpkin Dash has always been a totally free event for the kids," said Schuldt. "That's possible because of the support from all of our sponsors. CGH Medical Center and the Park District have put a lot of money and man-hours into this event over the years and continue to do so. From beginning to end, this is truly a community event."
Although free to all participants, $1 free-will per person donation will be accepted.