STERLING – The 21st annual Great Pumpkin Dash Cross Country Festival will be held Saturday at Hoover Park, 3807 Woodlawn Road, next to the Woodlawn Arts Academy.
In addition to the races, there will be a petting zoo, a bounce house, hay rack rides, face-painting, barrel rides, ambulance tours and pumpkin photos.
Registration for the races begins at 9 a.m. and continues throughout the morning. Participants will be grouped by age and run races of various lengths.
The race lengths range from 25 meters for the pee-wees (walkers younger than 2) to 1,000 meters for 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds. The winner of each heat gets a larger pumpkin, but the first 1,600 finishers will receive a small pumpkin.
Runners also get a coupon redeemable for free lunch at the Sterling Optimist Club food tent and a bag of Halloween goodies.
Approximate start times for each age group are:
11 a.m.: Pee Wee race
11:15 a.m.: 3-year-olds
11:30 a.m.:4- and 5-year-olds
Noon: 6- and 7-year-olds
12:30 p.m.: 8- and 9-year olds
1 p.m.: 10- and 11-year-olds.
1:15 p.m.: 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds
Racers should get to the park well before their heat, so they don’t miss it.
All activities are free; a $1 donation is suggested.
Hoover Park also has drinking water, playground equipment, picnic areas and access to area trails.