Holiday lights. Getting together with friends to make memories at Christmas events. Being outside in the crisp November weather for some fresh air and the sense that Santa is on his way soon (preferably with some of those cute reindeers). Ever wish there was a place and time when all of these come together?
There actually is just such an event! It’s at Dollywood late in the evening on Friday, Nov. 16. That’s when the 7th annual Light the Way 5K Run and Walk takes place to raise funds for two great non-profit organizations: Keep Sevier Beautiful (an affiliate of the Keep American Beautiful organization) and Share It Forward (assists Dollywood employees and their families in times of need).
So why is this 5K different from all the other races you can participate in? To me, it’s because you get to travel such a unique course – decorated by Dollywood’s five million Christmas lights! You start your run (ok, in my case – walk) at Dollywood’s Preferred Parking entrance, head through the parking lot and then wind your way all through the holiday beauty of the theme park. Since the race doesn’t start until 11:18 p.m. (Get it? It’s 2018, so it starts at 11:18!), runners and walkers have the theme park all to themselves. It’s pretty spectacular to make this trip through Dollywood with one purpose in mind – enjoying millions of twinkling, sparkling lights while getting some great exercise for two great causes.
Events that create holiday fun and help others at the holidays are ideal in my book. Giving to others is what the season is really all about, and the organizers from both Keep Sevier Beautiful and Share It Forward let me know that this is usually their biggest fundraiser of the year. Light the Way provides both non-profit organizations with much-needed financial assistance just before the holidays. Doesn’t that put you in the holiday spirit – to know you are helping these two great groups?
And then there is just the sheer fun exhibited by so many of the runners. Even the very serious runners dress up in a variety of holiday garb to take part in the 5K fun. My favorites are the friend and family groups who all dress alike – in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, in red and green leggings and tutus, in Frosty the Snowman and Buddy the Elf costumes and so much more. What’s not to like about that? Just brings out my Christmas spirit and makes me smile.
Did I mention there are awards? And cool prizes for the winners? This certified race is a chip-timed event and managed by Scenic City Multi-Sports. The overall male and female winners will be rewarded with Dollywood Season Passes! Winners of each age group will receive Christmas ornaments designed specifically for this event.
I know you are on some device right now that can take you directly to the registration part of the Light the Way site by just clicking here. See how easy that is? Take a few minutes and sign up – you know you want to. Or send an email or a text or even communicate the old-fashioned way by actually placing a call to that friend or family member that you have been promising to do something special with this holiday season. You could even treat that special someone by paying their registration for them – bet you didn’t think you would help check off part of your Christmas gift list by reading this blog, did you?
So get registered now. It’s a sure fire way to get on Santa’s nice list by helping two great charities and helping yourself get some exercise and make memories. Rudolph would definitely approve.