The United Fund of Surry is busy getting ready for the fifth Downtown Rocks and Runs event which is the official kick off for the 2012-2013 campaign on Saturday.
The “Runs” portion of the event was added three years ago and has grown by great strides each year, according to Chris Bunting, United Fund’s treasurer who worked closely on the certification process.
“This year we had the course USATF certified which means the time a runner receives can be turned in to qualify for more challenging races,” said Bunting.
The 5K starts at the post office, continues along the Ararat River Greenway, and the last stretch goes down Main Street.
Another change for this year’s event was the decision to hire a professional band.
“We had a professional band a couple of years ago, but most years we have had local bands donate their talents. That was great, but it’s hard to coordinate the needs of four bands and their set changes,” said Allison Poteat, this year’s event chairman. “We decided to hire The Breakfast Club Band out of Atlanta, Ga. They played a few months ago at Shelton Vineyards and were a big hit, so we decided to line them up for our concert.”
The band plays all ‘80s hits and will play from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
“A lot of us are already planning our ‘80s outfits and encourage everyone to get in the spirit and make this a huge ‘80s theme party,” said Poteat.
Downtown Rocks and Runs is the kick-off for the United Fund annual campaign.
“We try to get people excited about the campaign and all the great work our 26 agencies do in our community. This year, several of our agencies are pitching in to make the event run smoothly. The Mount Airy Rescue Squad will once again help with traffic during the race, Mountain Valley Hospice loans us canopies, and the ladies at Webb Southern-Carroll County Community Center in Cana, Va., will be baking cookies for the runners to have at the end of the race. We also have Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts volunteering at the water stations, which is a huge help,” said Beth Pequeno, executive director of United Fund of Surry.
“Darrin Lewis at Reeves Community Center has also been a great help to us. We help fund their foundation which makes it possible for many kids in our area to play sports for free, receive after-school childcare, participate in summer programs, and they also provide the means for disabled seniors to exercise in their facility,” said Pequeno.
She said the United Fund also has received tremendous help from businesses that support the agency.
“BB&T agreed to be the lead event sponsor. Gates Pharmacy is also a large sponsor and will provide a bounce house for the children,” said Poteat. “O2 Energies, the business that owns the two area solar farms, will be a large sponsor as their way of thanking everyone who has welcomed them to the area and to give back to the community.”
Advanced Electronic Services, Inc. is once again sponsoring Dash for the Cash. Five runners’ bib numbers will be secretly pulled before the race, and the first of those five to cross the finish line will receive $500. A runner could come in 75th and still win if they’re the first of those five.
Employees from Workforce Carolina will volunteer in the beer booth. Concessions will be provided by Dairy Center and The Ice Shack. The “Beacons,” the youth group at First Presbyterian Church, Mount Airy, will be selling soda, water, and freshly made popcorn to raise money for their summer mission trips and youth conferences. Event T-shirts and glow-in-the-dark necklaces also will be available for purchase.
At 7:30 p.m., children 12 and younger can participate in the Kids’ Fun Run which is sponsored by Tarheel Converter and Core again this year. Children can run for free and each receives a bib number like the registered runners and a participation ribbon.
The 5K begins at 6:30 p.m., but participants must preregister. Registration is $25 until midnight on Thursday. Runners can register at www.active.com or mail in the form from the brochure available at Reeves Community Center, the Armfield Civic and Recreation Center, Main Oak Emporium, the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce or by emailing a request to email@example.com.
If runners wait until race day, the cost is $30 and a table will be set up for registrations starting at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Municipal Building on Main Street. Only the first 200 runners registered are guaranteed an official event T-shirt and goody bag loaded with gifts from local businesses. All runners will receive free entrance into the concert.
“It’s going to be a great family-friendly event, and we hope everyone in the area will come out and help us celebrate another year of the United Fund of Surry connecting people and businesses with local agencies that make a difference to everyone in our community in some way. We are better together,” said Poteat.
Tickets are available at the gate and are $10, and kids 10 and younger enter free. No coolers or pets are allowed.
The United Fund of Surry funds 26 agencies serving youth development, the special needs population, and elderly/hospice care. These agencies provide such services as emergency medical services, delivering meals to the home bound, child abuse/neglect intervention, medical care for working poor, food for needy, and housing for low income families, etc.
The United Fund of Surry also funds 2-1-1, the number to call if one is in need of services, much like 911 is for emergencies. 2-1-1 is a resource which connects callers who have needs with agencies who provide services.
All the money raised by the United Fund of Surry stays locally. The United Fund of Surry is governed by a volunteer board of directors. For more information, visit the United Fund’s website at www.unitedfundofsurry.org or Facebook page.