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Editor's column: Foodie Fun Run deserves another run

The July 14 Foodie Fun Run in Morris featured participating businesses handing out food samples in downtown Morris along Atlantic Avenue. The event was part of Prairie Pioneer Days. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

Watching a bunch of kids search for bags of candy and a possible medallion worth $50 reminded me that festival fun isn't always very complicated.

The annual Willie's Supervalu medallion hunt at Pomme de Terre Park is a traditional part of Prairie Pioneer Days. Paul Martin and Willie's employees spend part of a Saturday filling small bags with candy and hiding them in the park.

The employees out helping on July 14 were enjoying the event as they watched kids search for candy bags.

One of the advantages of covering city festivals and county fairs is that you get a firsthand look at many of the activities happening at each festival or fair. With any festival or fair it takes people willing to volunteer to work the event and others to come up with a different idea and see it to completion.

This was the first year for the Foodie Fun Run. Participants mostly walked from the Lee Community Center to Atlantic Avenue and the downtown of Morris. They made several stops along the run route to get samples of food offered at various businesses. Participating businesses weren't handing out candy but the samples promised to be tasty. Organizer Natasha Mortenson, a member of the Morris Area Chamber Board, was pleased by the turnout but acknowledged that she was hoping for more participants.

Roughly 25 participants showed up to eat their way through downtown Morris. I had a few of the samples of the food. Anyone who didn't participate missed out. I hadn't intended to eat any food but when I saw the Mi Mexico chips and salsa, I had to eat. I love those chips and salsa. And my other sample was a mix of peanuts and other nuts at B Inspired.

A Food Fun Run is a good event. It can draw people into a downtown and inside their businesses. It's a way for food establishments to share samples of their food which can convince some folks to stop in some day for a meal. Just imagine all or most of downtown businesses offering a sample of food to share with event participants. Just because you don't sell food doesn't mean you can't partner with a business that does. A food establishment could offer one sample at its own business and a second sample with a partner business. Now, imagine the downtown filled with walkers or runners who go in and out of businesses to get those food samples. Now, imagine that some of those participants haven't been in some of those businesses for quite some time.

Maybe this could be an event for Crazy Days. Or a Foodie Fun Run could morph into a scavenger or treasure hunt in which you stop at each business for a clue or treasure.

And, I need to confess. Mortenson gave me a Foodie Fun Run T-shirt even though I didn't participate. I didn't write the column because of the free T-shirt. I wrote it because I've seen successful variations of a food run in several different communities. It would be shame if this event didn't continue in some shape or form.

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