Local Girl Scouts began what could soon be a tradition in Maryville last weekend.
The first Winter Wonderland Run/Walk was held to raise money for decorations at the park.
Area Scouts took over decorating duties three years ago after the former caretakers were no longer able to handle the task.
Anyone who decorates for holidays knows that the process is not an easy task, and the young Scouts have been faced with a few more challenges than the average Christmas decorator typically deals with.
The Winter Wonderland set up at Franklin Park at 7th and Main in Maryville has been plagued by vandals over the years.
But no amount of outright disregard can stop Christmas spirit, even in July.
Almost 100 people signed up for the 5k, separated into several age groups.
All participants got a t-shirt, and winners in each category were given a specially made ornament as a keepsake.
In the men's adult age group, local marathon runner Kenny Miller was the first to cross the line at 19:25.Joann Shipps was close behind, winning the women's division with a time of 20:44. For the children, Zachary Staples, a soon-to-be eighth-grader at Maryville Middle School, finished the three miles in 21:51. Coincidentally, the day of the race happened to fall on the exact halfway point to Christmas, something organizer Linda Christensen did not take lightly. "Somebody told me that and I thought, 'Oh no, I haven't started shopping yet," Christensen said. "But it's pretty neat, and fitting."
The fundraiser wasn't necessarily held to combat the vandalism area scouts have faced with their efforts, but more to upgrade the decorations. "Lighting is so expensive," Christensen said. "This will help a lot. We've really enjoyed working with Parks and Recreation on this." Christensen said that it is likely the event will return next year, and with the help of the city's parks department, it could really help to beef up the tradition of Winter Wonderland.
Winners for the men's group are as follows:
13 & under; Zachary Staples - first, Tristen Wilson - second.
14-19; Matt Barnett.
20-29; Mike Barnett.
30-39; Kenny Miller - overall, Scott Wilmes - first, Curt Jeter - second.
40-49; John Gallagher - first, Robert Houtchen - second.
50-59; Kenny Hull - first, David Barnett - second.
60+; Larry Davison - first, Jessie Ridenour, second.
Winners for the women's group are as follows:
13 & under; Kailee Swalley - first, Zoey Christansen - second.
14-19; Hailey Roush - first, Paige Heitman - second.
20-29; Kaley Coulter - first, Mallory Barnett - second.
30-39; Becky Houtchens - first, Sarah Kurz - second.
40-49; Joann Shipps - overall, Judy Frueh - first, Stephanie Blaine - second.
Page 2 of 2 - 50-59; Shelly Weddle - first, Becky Wilson - second.
The Scouts were also selling ornaments during the event, and winners in the different age groups each received one as a prize.
Anyone wishing to purchase an ornament to help with the cause can contact Christensen at (660) 582-5420.