Festival Foods holds their 15th annual Turkey Trot

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 5:19 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Festival Foods held its 15th annual Turkey Trot, kicking things off at the traditions new start line over at the Eau Claire YMCA Thanksgiving morning.

Participants laced up their sneakers and braved the morning chill to support two non-profits.

“We’re raising money for two great organizations. The YMCA’s across the state, as well all the money for this race stays right here in the Chippewa Valley. As well as the Boys & Girls club,” said Daniel Ekblad, he coordinated the Turkey Trot.

The turnout is something he says is something that has not been seen in several years.

“I will estimate over 3,000,” said Ekblad. “This may be only behind our highest total in 2014. So it’s a great come back.”

That turnout is what Ekblad said would help out the organizations with raising a significant amount of money as even other parts of the state are seeing huge turnouts.

“Over the years it’s raised over a $1,000,000+ statewide for this event. And we’ve actually grown a little bit this year too. So it’s projected this year it’s going to be big,” said Ekblad.

Some of the runners were happy to be a part of the joyous tradition.

“Camaraderie, people and it’s for a good cause too,” is what Linda Bollinger said she enjoyed the most about the Turkey Trot.

“I like the dog walk, it’s unique for a race,” said Scott Bollinger about the dog run portion of the event.

“This is a challenging course yet easy. You go uphill than downhill so it’s a good course. If you’re not good at the uphill you got a downhill and it’s flat.... The weather was perfect... so as turkey trots go this was one of the best ones I ran in,” said Aaron Dekker who ran in the 5 mile portion of the event.

Ekblad said this physical run is what people need to prepare for the big feast ahead of them.

“People are just out here to get up, get moving. Burn those calories so they can have a guilt free Thanksgiving,” said Ekblad.

Keeping this tradition alive is what he said is all he could ask for.

“We’re just happy that people embraced this and re-embraced this again this year. To come out and maybe start a new tradition with everybody.”

At the end of the race, participants were given a t-shirt and pumpkin pie.

All the left over pastries were donated to Saving Grace Lutheran Church.