Yukon prepares to kick-off holiday season

For more than a dozen years, a 5k has helped kickoff the holiday season in Yukon. This year is no different.

Jan Scott, the director of the Yukon Parks and Recreation Department, said the annual “Chill Your Cheeks” 5k is set for this weekend at Chisholm Trail Park. It is the first of several events Saturday to launch Yukon’s Christmas celebration.

The USATF-sanctioned 5k begins at 5 p.m. at the train station near the Oklahoma-shaped parking lot. It will end at the same location, Scott said.

Registration is $30 through Friday and $40 on race day.

A “Jingle Walk” is set to begin at 6 p.m. The Jingle Walk is free. Participants will walk about a 1 ½ miles wearing jingle bells.

Scott said everything is starting about 30 minutes later than in previous years to give participants an opportunity to run or walk through the lights that make up Yukon’s Christmas in the Park, which will open for the season at about 6:30 p.m.

“By opening 30 minutes later, we will give the runners more of a light experience. … We wanted to enhance the experience,” Scott said.

More than 400 runners participated in last year’s Chill Your Cheeks. Scott said preregistrations already are above where they were last year.

The event is professionally timed, Scott said.

Money raised from the event, said Scott, is used to help fund the cost of the race as well as helps with various free events throughout the year.

To register for the race, visit the Jackie Cooper Gym or go online at www.raceentry.com

The race is the first event of the night.

Christmas in the Park, the city’s drive-through Christmas light display, begins at 6:30 p.m. and features 425 lighted displays and 4 million Christmas lights.

It will be open nightly from 6 to 11 through New Year’s Eve. It is free to drive through. A train also is available for tours of the park and costs $2 per person.

Last year, more than 60,000 cars visited the lighting display.

Meanwhile, the annual Kringle Karnival is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include photos with Santa, compliments of the city, face painting, games, and arts and crafts. In addition, there will be free refreshments and Irv Wagner’s trombone quartet will be performing outside the Community Center.

“It really is a festive night,” said Scott.

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