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Turkey Day 5k is on

Last year, Jacquelyn Vranicar started the Turkey Day 5k in Lake Park to raise funds for the Families Forever Scholarship program.

Though it was a successful first year — about 75-100 people turned out that Thanksgiving Day morning — Vranicar wasn’t able to organize this year’s run because she needed to be in the Twin Cities, where she lives, that weekend for her son’s birthday party.

So, she decided to move the event to summer to coincide with the annual Garden Quilt and Tea Show hosted by her aunt, Peggy Stellmach.

Though last year’s participant Mandy Erickson said she didn’t know Vranicar, she found out through “the glory of Facebook” that the run was being moved to next summer, she said with a laugh.

She and a couple friends had been waiting for the announcement to come out about this year’s run but after not hearing anything, she eventually got in contact with Vranicar.

“A friend of mine and I were talking, we had done it last year and had so much fun. It was just a really neat event and liked doing it on Thanksgiving morning,” Erickson said.

So her friend, Christine Dornbusch, suggested they take over the 5k.

And so they have. Funds from the 5k and the quilt show support the Families Forever Scholarship Fund, which was started several years ago in memory of Mary Ballard, Stellmach’s sister and Vranicar’s mother, who died of cancer in 2006.

Side note: Stellmach said next summer’s Garden Quilt Show will be rescheduled for July 26 because she will be “out of the country in August when we have traditionally held the show.”

The scholarship awards young women — a Lake Park-Audubon senior and a Miss Northwest contestant — with money for college.

“What makes this special is that even though they (Mandy and Christy) never met my mom, they believe in what we are doing,” Vranicar said.

She added that she was “truly shocked” when Erickson told her that she would still donate all the funds from the 5k — held on Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 28 this year — to the Families Forever Scholarship Fund.

“We just wanted to make sure it happened again this year,” Erickson said. “We just really had fun last year.”

She said she’s never organized a 5k before, but “somehow I end up getting myself involved in a lot of other things,” she said with a laugh.

Erickson admits that she will likely walk more than run in the 5k because she’s not a “marathoner,” but it’s for the cause and the fun, not the speed.

“Everyone says they are so busy on Thanksgiving but usually in the morning they have an hour to spare. Go for a walk and then you won’t feel so guilty about sitting around, eating the rest of the day.”

She said next year’s Turkey Day 5k will depend on how easily this year happens and the success of it.

Registration for the Turkey Day 5k is being held through the website Search for Lake Park Turkey Day 5k. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for students. A free T-shirt is included.

There are also flyers in the Lake Park City Center for registration if you don’t have access to the Internet.

There will be door prizes during the event, and there will be coffee and light snacks at the city center as well.

People can also register the morning of the event at 7:15 in the Lake Park City Center, where the race starts.

The 5k begins at 8.

More information can be found on Facebook under Lake Park Turkey Day 5k, or you can call Mandy Erickson at 849- 4569.

“We just want to have a fun event, not a high-speed thing by any means,” she said. “Kids, dogs, we just want everyone to come out and have fun because we had so much fun last year.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.