The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department sponsored the second Annual 5K Turkey Trot race and, for those who preferred a slower pace with which to take in the pretty morning and hold a conversation, a two-mile Gobble Wobble Walk. Proceeds from registration fees for the race will benefit the Pet Project, which hopes to open a brand new Regional Animal Shelter.
The well-attended event shut down a stretch of Main Street around Orchard Park between 9 and 11 a.m. to accommodate the hundred or more runners, walkers and activity-seekers who showed up early to get some exercise, fresh air and have plenty of fun.
Patrick Hayden, 80, who has laced up his running shoes for many marathons over the course of four decades, heroically strutted past the finish line with a finishing time of 52 minutes, five seconds. "I sit around most the time," he kidded.
Daija Heaton, 28, who moved with her family from Idaho in June, took part in the race, and afterward took a victory lap through the carnival activities area with her one-year-old daughter, Lizzy, in her jogging stroller. "I ran it in just over 29 minutes," the mother of two said. "I just really enjoy running," she said. "Luckily, my husband was here to watch our kids and cheer me on."
Mayor Tommy Roberts rode the lead bicycle in the race. "I really like to see and greet all the people who came out on this beautiful day for this event," he said.
If the way people gobbled up the lunch provided by Big Belly BBQ was any indication, the event seems destined for continued success.
Recreation Superintendent Shana Reeves, 32, was on hand to handle emcee duties, announcing winners of the race, a costume contest, and a Turkey bingo game. "I just love to see all the happy faces around here," she said. "The family activities, too, are a great way to let off some workweek steam, make a turkey hat, and enjoy the day, and burn some calories, too."
The pre-Thanksgiving event included activities from one end of Orchard Park's adjoining parking lot to the other. Dozens of families with their children milled about the carnival area, trying their hand at carnival ball tosses, assorted nutrition-informative games, a face-painting booth, a kids' gobble contest, even a couple live turkeys strutting around in a straw-floor pen on the north side of Orchard Park. Participate in a Turkey Trot and Gobble Wobble costume contest!
For more information on next year's event or the Pet Project, call (505) 599-1184 or go online at www.fmtn.org/prca.