By Anna Jauhola
A group of concerned citizens is working to merge fun with fundraising, all to benefit the Hallock swimming pool.
Kalli Peterson is one of those organizing a Fall Fest event set for Sunday, Oct. 27. It will start with a kids’ bike parade from the Hallock water tower to the fire hall where the kids can play games starting at 3:30 and enter a pumpkin carving contest. There will also be a shoe drive, French fry feed and a zombie fun run.
“One day I went into the city office and asked what it was going to cost to fix the pool,” Peterson said. “Because we need our pool. It’s a staple in a lot of Hallock kids’ lives, it keeps a lot of kids out of trouble, I think.”
In mid-August, the 30-year-old filter for the pool exploded and costs at least $15,000 to replace. The city is looking into whether insurance will cover that cost but in the meantime, this group wants to work toward helping the cause. The pool, which was built in the 1960s, had a kiddie pool until 2009 when new regulations necessitated upgrades. The kiddie pool has been closed since due to a lack of funds to upgrade it.
The idea for the event started with a zombie-themed fun run.
“Then suddenly it’s grown into a French fry feed, kids bike parade and more,” Peterson said.
The kids’ bike parade will be an opportunity for children to exhibit their Halloween costumes a little early, specifically for the residents of the Kittson Healthcare Nursing Home. The parade will go south along Birch Avenue where the kids will divert into the lower level nursing home parking lot to ride past the dining room windows. The kids will then continue along Birch and end at the Assembly of God Church.
The main event will be held at the Hallock Fire Hall. The Kennedy Crew will host a pumpkin carving contest. Those participating will bring an already-carved pumpkin to enter. A bucket will be in front of each pumpkin and people can vote for their favorites by putting cash into the buckets, Peterson said.
Rhonda Deere will do face painting, Sue Winger will read palms and the hungry masses can enjoy a French fry feed. Alumni lifeguards will be manning a free-will donation booth and visitors can enjoy horse buggy and hayrides. Kids can keep busy on inflatable bouncy houses, in the photo booth or by playing fun fall-themed games. And everyone can pay a buck to guess the weight of a pumpkin to be put in a drawing for a prize.
At 6 p.m., people can participate in a zombie fun run. Participants can dress up in costumes, if they so choose, and will follow a route from the fire hall to the swimming pool. But, beware! Along the route, zombies will pop out from nowhere.
Anyone wishing to be a zombie or sign up for the fun run can contact one of the organizers – Peterson, Jodi or Kendra Johnson, or Emily Kuzel – prior to the run or the day of the event. There is no fee to be a zombie, but to enter the run is $20.
After the zombie run, at 6:30 p.m., the pumpkin carving contest pumpkins will be lit.
All money collected from the evening’s various events goes toward the pool fund.
The Fall Fest will also be a kick-off for an ongoing fundraiser for the pool. Peterson said her mom, Heather, pointed her to Funds2Orgs, a for-profit organization that helps various groups organize shoe drives. Funds2Orgs receives the shoes, pays the groups for the shoes they collect and then sells those shoes at minimal cost to entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Peterson and fellow organizer, Jodi Johnson, have set up with Funds2Orgs and have a goal of collecting 2,500 pairs of shoes between now and Dec. 1.
Not only can people bring their gently used or new shoes to the Fall Fest at the Hallock Fire Hall, they can also drop off at various locations in the area – Grace Lutheran Church, First Presbyterian Church, Assembly of God Church, Shamrock Lanes & Grill and City Hall in Hallock; Kennedy Covenant Church in Kennedy and Red River Lutheran Church, rural Kennedy; Sion Lutheran Church in Lancaster; First Lutheran Church in Karlstad; and D & K Grocery in Pembina, N.D.
“If we get 2,500 pairs of shoes, we get 40 cents per pound and that rounds out to $1,000,” Peterson said. “There’s no cap. We can make as much as we want, but we want to get that 2,500 pairs because there is a fee for them to pick up the shoes if we don’t hit it.”
Peterson said they will find a suitable storage area for the shoes and once they’ve hit their goal, Funds2Org provides bags and binding to pack the shoes and then a truck picks them up.
“I think it’s important to note that it is a community event,” said Peterson of the shoe collection and Fall Fest. “It is benefitting our pool, and we all need to look at it as a donation.”
By Anna Jauhola