WEST PARIS — The Agnes Gray Elementary School PTO is gearing up for the second annual Pumpkin Run that provides a healthy activity and funds student programs and classroom materials.

“The PTO is critical for providing enrichment activities for the children,” member Joanna Brown said. “There is virtually no money in the school budget for field trips. Because of this, the PTO raises money to fund field trips for each grade.”

Last year raised enough money to send third- and fourth-grade students on a day trip to the Museum of Science in Boston for the first time.

The school educates about 100 prekindergarten through fourth-grade students.

Brown said the money is also used for “teacher wish lists.” Those items include books, classroom furniture and playground equipment not funded by the Oxford Hills School District budget.

“Prior to the Pumpkin Run, the PTO organized many different activities to raise money,” she said. “The typical fundraiser asked families to sell various items to support the school. In this approach, only a small portion of the money raised actually went to the school. With the West Paris Pumpkin Run, this model completely changed.


“The Pumpkin Run acted to coordinate a health and exercise initiative along with fundraising for the school,” she said. “Instead of asking children to sell things, we asked children and families to get outside and run or walk together to support the school.”

The Pumpkin run will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. It includes a communitywide 5K race, mile walk and 1-mile fun run.

More than 30 businesses have pledged their support and registrations are pouring in, she said.

“Last year’s event was a huge success with over 200 participants,” Brown said. “This year our goal is to top 300.”

Every child participating in the fun run will be able to take home a pumpkin as a “completion award.” Also, Wendy Newmeyer from Maine Balsam Fir has designed one-of-a-kind “Pumpkin Run” balsam pillows for the top three male and female participants in each event, Brown said.

Registrations are available online at www.back40timing.com or by mail and in person at the Agnes Gray School office at 170 Main St. Registrations will also be taken on site beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the event.


Preregistration fees are $12 for the 5K participation and $15 the day of the race; $10 for the walk and $15 on race day; $5 for the Kids Fun Run and $10 race day; $20 for the family package and $25 on race day.

A lunch of chili and pumpkin pie is included in the registration fee. The cost is $5 for nonrunners.

T-shirts can be ordered for $5 by Oct. 1.

For those who want to donate and not run, to online to www.back40timing.com. Click on “West Paris Pumpkin Run” where an option for donations is available, Brown said.

Parking for the event is available at the Legion School, 20 Kingsbury St. or at the Town Hall at 25 Kingsbury St.


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