GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis in Lights will be hosting its annual Electric River Run and Walk this Saturday at 7 p.m., with the race officially beginning at 9 p.m.
The course begins and ends at City Park in Gallipolis. It takes participants through First Avenue, Sycamore Street and Vine Street before returning and ending at City Park. The course is a total of 3.1 miles, equal to 5 kilometers, and participants can either run or walk.
TriStateRacer, a professional footrace promoting company, will help organize the already 510 preregistered individuals in the race by providing electronic timing clocks, communications and specialized equipment for the race. Last year, Mikayla Edelmann won the women’s race and was clocked at roughly 21 minutes, 26 seconds. Ethan Hersman won the men’s race with a 17:51 clocking.
Race hosts will place participants in nine age categories.
Traditionally, the 5K race is Gallipolis in Lights’ biggest fundraising event. Individuals looking to join the race can sign up just before the race begins for $35. T-shirts can be purchased for $10. Participants are encouraged to wear bright costumes or running gear. Prizes will be given to the best-dressed participant.
Homes along the race course are encouraged to decorate their homes in lighting displays. Judges will be around to determine who they regard as having the best light setup and will dole out prizes.
Inflatables will be available for children to enjoy, as well as neon face painting and neon nail jobs. Musicians are anticipated to play in City Park during the event. The Hoop Project will be setting up a “Shoot Shoot” for those interested. Stage performances will be made by Stillwater and the Stringbenders. “Afterglow” parties will be held at Courtside Bar and Grill on Second Avenue and Uncle Kenny’s Saloon on Court Street.
Gallipolis in Lights brought itself together in the winter of 2013 to spread displays across Gallipolis City Park and hang “light balls” in trees. The idea for the ornament was made popular in Greensboro, N.C., but was quickly adopted to suit Gallipolis’ needs. Individuals skillfully wrap chicken wire, or some other similar fencing material, into a sphere. Christmas lights, or ever-popular LED fixtures, are laced through the wire and then hung on a tree. When done properly, a group of light balls seen in the dark may remind one of a mini-solar system hung throughout a back yard or park.
The group hung 1,000 light balls last year and anticipates it may increase its lighting displays for the coming holiday season.
The group started as a series of discussions held on social media sites when local residents felt the lighting displays of previous holiday seasons they had witnessed as children were not being demonstrated in the present day community. Those individuals banded together to create the Gallipolis in Lights initiative.
For more information, visit the Gallipolis in Lights Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.