It's not every day you go to a park and find a giant zucchini greeting visitors and posing for pictures.
But when people are gathering for the annual Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Adventure, as they did Sunday at Citizens Park in Barrington, the appearance of an anthropomorphic summer squash isn't cause for alarm.
Barrington resident Maty Bauer was the woman inside the green costume. She had fun with the role.
"It was comfortable," she said of the costume. "The head just kind of falls off a little bit. It's top heavy."
About 180 people participated in the 4th annual 5K race, which consisted of two laps around the park. Proceeds will benefit Smart Farm, a local organization that promotes sustainable gardening and donates produce to food pantries.
The sky was clear and the temperature was bearable at race time.
"It's a perfect day," Smart Farm founder Kathy Gabelman said.
Veronica Marmora was one of the racers. As she strapped on her snowshoes before the race, she said she didn't mind the cold.
"I love snow," the South Barrington resident said. "I'd do this anyway, so (doing) it with a whole group of people is fun."
Casey Kozlowski and two of her friends competed Sunday, too. Kozlowski got her first pair of snowshoes about two months ago, and she wanted to race as a way to exercise.
"You've got to do something in the wintertime," she said.