SITKA - It's time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and paint them up. The 14th annual Running of the Boots starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Crescent Harbor shelter.
This event is part of the Season's End Celebration, a new event sponsored by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce. This year, the chamber's board decided to donate the money raised by the Running of the Boots to the Sitka Farmers Market. The entry fee is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m.
So what is the Running of the Boots? It's Southeast Alaska's answer to Spain's "Running of the Bulls." But unlike the Pamplona spectacle, humans do the running in Sitka and they wear zany costumes and XtraTufs - Southeast Alaska's distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). There is a lip sync contest after the race, which costs $10 to enter.
This is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Categories include best dressed boots, best costume, best couple, best kids group and many others. The course includes a loop around St. Michael's Cathedral before returning to Crescent Harbor for families with children, or a run to the corner of Katlian and Lincoln and back to Crescent Harbor for Sitka's hardier souls.
"This event will be one of the highlights of our Season's End Celebration, after which Sitkans can partake of the Alaska Cruise Association's free lunch," said Sheila Finkenbinder, executive director of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce. Finkenbinder started the 'run' 14 years ago, inspired by an idea from KCAW-Raven Radio general manager Ken Fate.
"This is a really fun way to help bring the Sitka Farmers Market back next summer," Sitka Farmers Market co-coordinator Kerry MacLane said. "And just like at the market, there will be live music and veggies."
Fresh produce from the St. Peter's Fellowship Farm (a new community garden located behind St. Peter's By The Sea Epsicopal Church) and donated produce from local family gardens will be sold to help raise money for the Sitka Farmers Market.
To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the race can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/ and more information about the Sitka Farmers Market project is online at http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/Market.html.