Big Brothers Big Sisters looks to raise $20K through .5K event

  • Jane Trombi, Jenn Eichora and others stop at the Mesa Verde taco stop during the .5K event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in 2021 to raise money for the Big Brother Big Sisters of Franklin County. This year’s .5K is set for Thursday, July 14. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • People start off their .5K at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in 2021 to raise money for the Big Brother Big Sisters of Franklin County. This year’s .5K is set for Thursday, July 14. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 7/6/2022 3:40:35 PM
Modified: 7/6/2022 3:37:57 PM

GREENFIELD — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County has set a $20,000 fundraising goal for its third annual .5K, an event that aims to be accessible to all while supporting the Greenfield-based youth mentoring organization.

The third annual .5K will be held at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Thursday, July 14, from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Ericka Almeida, development director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, said the .5K — which she believes is the only race of its kind in Massachusetts — is an event where everyone can win while raising money to support the community. The race takes place over a 546-meter course, where attendees collect dinner, dessert and a beverage to be eaten picnic-style afterwards.

Almeida jokes that, “the point of the .5K is to act like you ran a 5K, when you actually just walked a 546-meter course.”

The event began in 2019, after Almeida read about a similar event in Texas. While she thought that one of the main draws of that event — alcohol and cigarettes at checkpoints — was inappropriate for an event run by a youth charity, she thought it was admirable to have a race that was accessible to everyone.

Almeida noted that last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters was “very hesitant” to hold the .5K due to the pandemic. There was no event in 2020. However, using COVID-19 health safety guidance, organizers were able to hold an outdoor, socially distanced event. This year will be much more normal, Almeida said, but attendees are welcome to come wearing masks.

This year’s .5K has a theme of “pool party,” with costumes encouraged. The highlight of the race is the variety of food options, which change every year. This year’s options include burgers from Jim Bragdon’s Marine Corps Booth, fries from SPUDS, Ciesluk Farmstand corn and whoopie pies from Bagels n’ More.

When participants cross the finish line, they can grab beer from Hitchcock Brewing Co. or a Samara sparkling beverage if they want a non-alcoholic option. They will then go eat a picnic with other runners. Other entertainment includes giveaways, lawn games and music courtesy of Bernardston disc jockey Robert “Bobby C” Campbell.

The fundraising goal, of $20,000, has increased from last year’s event, with all proceeds supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters. The deadline for registration will be on July 13, one day before the race takes place. Nevertheless, Almeida wants people to register in advance sooner rather than later, which can be done online at bit.ly/3P6S9h1. Tickets are $30 for adults ages 21 and up, $15 for those ages 3 to 20, and children under 3 are admitted for free.

Almeida hopes the .5K will promote “camaraderie of our community, coming together for a common cause.”


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