Santa Dash is set to kick off the Fort Payne Christmas Parade on Dec. 9, through downtown Fort Payne.

Race coordinator, Andrea Oliver said participants would meet at First Fidelity Bank on 1400 Gault Ave. N at 5:30 p.m., and the race will begin at 5:45 p.m.

“The run will end at Third Street South,” she said.

Susan Mitchell, event founder, said the Santa Dash began in 2014, and has “blessed” many families.

According to Mitchell, the Santa Dash was created to raise donations to help all the kids in the area wake up to gifts on Christmas.

Oliver said applications are sent out to guidance counselors at the schools in Fort Payne for children they think could benefit from the Santa Dash.

“We have around 15 kids we are hoping to help this year, and we hope to spend around $150 each,” Mitchell said.

Oliver said the fun run and walk is open to all ages and there is no entry fee, but they do accept donations.

“All the money raised from the run and by private donations will be used to provide Christmas gifts for children who may otherwise not have gifts on Christmas morning,” Oliver said.

Participants are encouraged to come dressed in Christmas attire, including Santa suits, light up necklaces, headbands, and reindeer antlers.

“We will have a lot of T-shirts to hand out for those who get there at 5:30 p.m.,” Oliver said.

The overall male and female winners for the event will receive a gift card.

“We cannot wait. It’s my favorite way to start the Christmas parade,” Oliver said. “We get to run off the calories before we eat the candy.”

She said this is an enjoyable and easy way to help others this year and the event is something they hope to do every year to start off the parade.

If you would like to donate this year, all checks should be made out to Fort Payne Santa Dash. Checks can be dropped off at Elizabeth’s Closet or mailed to Susan Mitchell at 1403 68th Street NW Fort Payne.

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