In addition to filling up on festival food Saturday, Rural Valley Pumpkin Fest attendees can get some exercise this year at the Rural Valley Pumpkin Fest 5K.
All proceeds from the race — which starts at 9 a.m. at the American Legion in Rural Valley — benefit Abby Bowser, a 13-year-old West Shamokin High School student diagnosed with an incurable liver disease.
Bowser was diagnosed in April 2012 and was placed on the transplant list a year later to get a new liver.
Event coordinator Anna Lasslo, a Seton Hill University student from Rural Valley, decided that the festival would be a good opportunity to raise money for her with a 5K benefit race.
“I run them, so I always wanted to get another one started in the fall for Rural Valley,” Lasslo said. “Abby was going through this and the town knows about it. I thought it would be good to do this to benefit her.”
As of Monday, 78 people had signed up for the 5K, however Lasslo expects more to register the day of the event.
“If we hit 100, I will be extremely happy,” she said. “It’s not a bad turnout for a first-year event.”
Registration will continue until Thursday at $19 for adults and $14 for children. Registration the day of the 5K will cost $22 for adults and $17 for children.
Lasslo said she aims to raise between $800 and $1,000 for Bowser from registration fees, a 50/50 drawing and donations.
Next year, she said she plans to host the event again to benefit another cause.
“I plan on holding it for as long as I’m in town,” she said. “Once I graduate college and move out, I’ll pass it onto someone else.”
After the 5K Saturday, runners can attend the 16th annual Pumpkin Fest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Shannock Valley Recreational Park.
With more than 90 vendors consisting of food, crafts and informational booths, Pumpkin Fest committee member Gina Young said this is the largest festival yet.
Musical entertainment at the festival will include the Senior Sensations — a group of senior citizen entertainers — from 10 to 11 a.m., community musician Chuck Richards from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Rising Regina — a Pittsburgh-area band performing rock, folk, blues, bluegrass and American roots music — from 3 to 6 p.m.
Pony rides and pumpkin painting will be available all day along with 50/50 raffles, basket raffles and Chinese auctions.
Children’s entertainment includes a bounce house from noon to 5 p.m., a strolling magician from noon to 2 p.m. and Mike the Balloon Guy, who makes extravagant balloon animals, from noon to 4 p.m.
“It’s something that is enjoyed by the whole community,” Young said. “There’s a lot of fun for everyone.”