ASHLAND, OR – For the 12th year in a row, the Ashland Monster Dash invites ghosts, ghouls, super heroes and monsters to run in support of local education. This year’s event has gone virtual, and is a collaboration between the Ashland Kiwanis Club and the Ashland Schools Foundation, with Lithia 4 Kids as the presenting sponsor. Organizers aim to raise tens of thousands of dollars for grants in public schools in Ashland, as well as the Phoenix-Talent Schools Fire Relief Fund.
While new COVID-related guidelines have driven the event online, organizers plan to continue offering a “fun factor” for participants seeking ways to celebrate a socially-distanced and safe Halloween. Ashland Schools Foundation Executive Director, Susan Bacon, says she hopes the Monster Dash will continue to be a family staple.
“It really is just a ton of fun, and we don’t want to miss out on offering some form of the event this year,” says Bacon. “So while the race looks very different, we still have people of all ages signing up, preparing for online contests, or simply just registering to support our schools. We’re putting together runners’ packets with race bibs, finisher’s medals and crepe paper finish lines for people to create their own mini-events at home, and we’ve designed a Kids’ Fun Packet with Halloween toys, activities, and treats for our youth racers.”
The virtual event still features 1-mile, 5k and 10k distances, and will be offering prize drawings for those who upload their times to the race website by November 1. Runners and walkers are welcome to complete their personal course any time between October 23-31. Registrants are also encouraged to enter various costume, video and photo contests online for additional chances to win from this year’s prize pool.
“We have a lot of great opportunities for people to get involved. The hope is that this year’s virtual race gives students and their families something to get excited about. We’re encouraging people to make an event out of training and racing by dressing in costumes, entering contests, and celebrating Halloween within their personal family-and-friend bubbles this year.”
While organizers hope the participants have a great time, they are also working behind the scenes to help support students and families in the Ashland and Phoenix-Talent School Districts. Phoenix-Talent Schools estimate that 40% of their families lost their homes in the Almeda Fire in September, and 80% of Phoenix Elementary School’s families are now homeless. Proceeds from the event will fund fire relief efforts for affected students, staff and educators, as well as local school grants and programs.
“We’re so happy to be able to help our neighbors in Phoenix and Talent this year. Now more than ever, we want to make sure our local school communities have what they need to help students thrive. Much of this year’s needed resources are outside of our districts’ typical budgets, including new technologies and wildfire relief. There’s an unprecedented need to lend a hand to our local students and educators, and this race is really a fun and impactful way to do just that.”
This year’s sponsors have also stepped up to the virtual plate to support local education and provide participants with prizes, giveaways, and online auction items. The presenting sponsor, Lithia 4 Kids, joins nearly 100 local businesses who are giving their time, products, and sponsorship dollars for a successful 2020 fundraising event.
“It’s been amazing to work with our sponsors this year. With all of the financial strain that COVID has put on our local merchants, we were expecting many sponsors to reduce or drop their sponsorships. But many said this was their favorite event or cause to support, and were finding a way to make it happen. The outpouring of generosity in support of our local schools is truly heartwarming. These partnerships are allowing us to offer something that families and friends can do together to celebrate a safe Halloween, even if we can’t all be together in Lithia Park as usual. This year will be different, but it will still absolutely be meaningful and memorable.”
For information, and to register for the 2020 Virtual Monster Dash, visit www.ashlandmonsterdash.com.
About Ashland Schools Foundation
The ASF is a 501(c)(3), non-profit public benefit corporation, organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. Our mission is to support quality education in the Ashland public schools through fundraising in the community.
Contact: ASF Executive Director Susan Bacon, firstname.lastname@example.org or (541) 482-8197