Wattle helps to raise more than $30,000 for food pantry

Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
Before millions of people across the country gobbled up a variety of calorie-filled dishes on Thanksgiving Day, thousands of people throughout the region came to the city of Grove City to pound the pavement for the 11th annual Thanksgiving Wattle. According to event organizer Mark Sigrist, more than 1,700 cyclists, runners, walkers, and wheelchair users signed up for this year’s 5K race, the most they have ever had throughout its history. “Unfortunately, we had to turn some people away because it was so packed,” he said. Although the organizers were saddened to have denied entry to dozens of would-be participants, they were ultimately pleased with the results of the day as more than $30,000 was raised for the local food pantry. “It’s always a good day when we can give back to the community in some way,” said Sigrist. Shown here are some of the scenes captured during the 5K walk/run and the 13.4-mile cycling event on Nov. 24.
Grove City High School students Steven Jordan, Gracie Smith, and Alivia Beiriger volunteered to be mascots for the event. In addition to cheering the crowd on, they also participated in the children’s races to provide further encouragement.
This hat that fell below her eyes did not stop Lucy Samuels, 2, from reaching the finish line during the Primrose Children’s Run. It was the Grove City resident’s first Thanksgiving Wattle.
Many racers and walkers came dressed for the occasion. Here, friends Mary Frea and Rachel Thompson showcase their festive leggings and turkey suit after completing the race. Thompson said she believes she would have clocked in earlier had the suit not been such a hindrance. “I think it slowed me down a bit,” she said.
London resident Jodi Abner gets ready to celebrate as she nears the finish line. Unlike many in the race, she was not concerned with clocking in at a certain time. “I’m just glad I finished,” she said.
Galloway resident Kelsey Cook prepares to cross the finish line with Biscuit Cassner leading the charge. Biscuit’s humans were also participating in the race but Cook said that the Golden retriever wanted to run with her because he likes her more.
Jeff Decker, of Hilliard, proudly displays his decked out bicycle after finishing the 13.4 mile Rotisserie Roll Bike Ride.
The Freetage family compete in the Turkey Leg 100 race. Pictured from left are Dave Freetage and his sons, Evan and Tyler.
Tracy Fiber, the manager of the Grove City Food Pantry, and assistant volunteer Mary Ellen Walsh pose with the big check presented to the local food bank at the event. More than $200,000 has been raised for the organization since the 5K walk/race began 11 years ago.
Grove City High School student Esther-Faith Henn puts on her game face as she prepares to compete in the race. Henn was the first place champion in this year’s state’s 100-meters seated division and the second place and third place winner in the 400-meter and the 800-meter seated division, respectively.


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