For the first time, Wauconda officials may sponsor the annual Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving Day.
The third annual event is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 28. The course will run 4 miles around Bangs Lake. A more leisurely 2-mile course also is set up.
Under village rules first enforced this summer, a nonprofit community group or the village has to sponsor an event in order for roads to be closed or the downtown parking lot to be used.
The annual Blues, Brew & Burger Fest — set in the parking lot off Main Street — faced cancellation this summer because Mayor Frank Bart initially refused to issue a special-event permit or a liquor license to the organizers.
The local Lions Club saved the day by co-sponsoring the bash.
The Turkey Trot is put on by Star Runners, a group of running enthusiasts that raises money for local, national and international charities.
Sponsorship would cost the village $1,000. The cash would come from civic donations, said Linda Krajniak, Wauconda’s director of economic and community development.
Krajniak made the case for sponsorship Tuesday night during a committee-of-the-whole meeting at village hall.
Allowing participants to use the parking lot is safer than having people park elsewhere, Krajniak said. Additionally, official village participation would allow organizers to close a section of Main Street in a way that wouldn’t affect the busy intersection with Route 176, she said.
“This would be a nice partnership for the village,” Krajniak said.
Race director Chris Rueb spoke in favor of sponsorship Tuesday, too. He said he hopes 1,000 people will participate in the race, up from 800 last year.
Local merchant Andrew Mansour raised some concerns about the race’s impact on his business. He said the race makes it difficult for people to reach his store on Main Street, Frank’s Karma Cafe, to pick up pies on Thanksgiving morning.
He didn’t object to village sponsorship but said there could be problems if the race continues to grow in popularity.
The all-ages event raises money for the Wauconda and Island Lake Food Pantry. Last year’s Turkey Trot brought in an estimated $13,000, officials said.
The village board could vote on the proposed sponsorship next Tuesday, Oct. 29.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.