If you were to stroll down to the Ashland Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 29, you would have found yourself amidst a colorful rendezvous of ghouls and pop stars, comic book characters and costumes of every other design imaginable. Over the weekend, hundreds of Ashland residents of every age gathered in Lithia Park to participate in the 3rd annual Monster Dash, an event sponsored by Kiwanis, which began with a costume contest and continued with a one-mile race and 5k and 10k marathons.
Although prizes, music, and drawings were awarded to participants, the biggest incentive for involvement is the fact that the profits go to benefit the Ashland Schools Foundation, a fundraising organization for Ashland-area schools.
According to Susan Bacon, executive director of ASF, last year’s Monster Dash brought in an estimated 500 participants and approximately $14,000 dollars. The ASF hopes that this year that the benefit will earn at least two thousand dollars more than last year.
The Monster Dash is usually held in the afternoon on Halloween, sharing the festivities with the traditional annual Halloween parade. This year, however, the date was moved back to better accommodate families with little kids who hoped to participate.
Dressed in a matching cheetah costume with her husband and young daughter, Linda VonHanneken, a 3rd year participant of Monster Dash, said that her family has been looking forward to the event for months.
“The most special part is watching everyone run around dressed up,” she said.
The VonHanneken family took a winning position in one of the costume contest youth groups that morning, in addition to participating in the one-mile race. She said the rescheduling of the Dash almost caused her to miss the event. However, she believes that it is ultimately “a little easier on the kids.”
The Monster Dash proved to be a great opportunity for families and individuals to show off their costumes and stir up some Halloween spirit as a community in a safe environment. The Ashland Chamber of Commerce also worked hard to encourage the community to get involved in Monday’s Halloween Parade, which began at the public library and ended at the Plaza.