By Hayden Tucker
The Yukon Parks and Recreation Department is set to host its annual “Chill your Cheeks” 5K run on Nov. 17.
This will be the 18th year the city has hosted the event, but it’s changed since 1999.
Aside from the 5k, there will be other attractions as well. They will hold their Jingle Walk, a leisurely stroll through the park where participants can get their first glance at one of Oklahoma’s greatest Christmas light attractions. They’ll also have a carnival and mascot dash.
Normally held at the Community Center, the “Kringle Karnival” will offer Christmas crafts and games, live music and entertainment, a reindeer petting zoo, train rides, and prize drawings.
The mascot dash will feature local sports personalities such as Boomer and Sooner, the Miller Man, the Mustang Bronco, as well as potential others.
Runners who dress up have the chance of winning a $100 gift card to Red Coyote. The best dressed 5k participant will win the prize.
This event is a cornerstone of Yukon, Parks and Recreation Director Jan Scott says.
“A lot of the 5k’s are morning runs and this one starts at 5 p.m. because of the Christmas lights so that in itself makes it unique,” she said. “We try to make it as fun as possible and the park is pretty. It’s really a festive mood.”
Events begin at 5 p.m. when the more than 400 expected runners will take the track for the 5k, followed by the Jingle Walk at 5:30 p.m. The Carnival will be held between 6 and 8 p.m. The park will open up to the public to drive through at 6. Runners must be finished by then.
Those participating the in the Jingle Walk are permitted to bring strollers and pets on leashes, those items will not be allowed on the 5k track.
What started as a 5k run in 1999 has grown into a major event that kicks off the holiday season. Interest in the event rises each year, which is something most cities can’t say.
“It’s exciting when something has sustained that long and it’s still popular,” Scott said. “Sometimes things lose their popularity and the participant numbers dwindle but this is something that has stayed high.”
The cost to join the 5k is $30 for adults and $25 for youths. All other events are free to the public.