Third annual Laurel-Ween slated for Saturday

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LAUREL — Live entertainment, kids’ activities, a BBQ contest, vintage cars, Halloween treats, and raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research, are just some of the things people can expect at the Third Annual Laurel-Ween celebration, held all day Saturday, Oct. 28 in Laurel.

“The event has a primary goal of providing a format for local residents to celebrate the fall harvest season, but it will also allow an opportunity to educate the public on a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of several residents in central Iowa: pediatric cancer research,” said Event Coordinator Missy Sharer-Pieters. “The highlight of Laurel-Ween will be a 3:30 p.m. Halloween-themed parade, dubbed the ‘Ethyn Clark Parade to Scare Off Pediatric Cancer.’ It will feature a Grand Marshal car for Ethyn Clark, 9, of Melbourne, who is currently battling leukemia.”

Laurel-Ween was first organized back in 2015 when Missy Sharer-Pieters, Jessie Howard and Emily Ryherd got together and brainstormed ideas for establishing a fall celebration in the community that would also pay tribute to local youth fighting life-threatening diseases: Lucas Ahlbach the first year, then Lindsey Story the following year. Both children have since passed away. Proceeds from the parade will be donated to the pediatric cancer research fund established by Lucas’ parents.

Laurel-Ween will kick-off at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the American Legion, located at 105 W. Rogers St., and hosted by the Laurel Lion’s Club. At 9 a.m. a heavy 10K run and a bike ride will take place, with registration for both events available from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

“Runners in teams of up to three people, will run the highway between Gilman and Laurel,” Sharer-Pieters said. “They will register in Laurel, then we’ll bus then to the starting point in Gilman.”

Bikers will traverse from Laurel to Kellogg to Rock Creek State Park, and back.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., youngsters can enjoy a kids’ carnival, complete with inflatable and mechanical rides, a petting zoo and “tame & insane exotic animals,” hosted on the grounds of East Marshall Elementary School, located at 201 E. Weissenburger St. Wristbands to enjoy unlimited kids’ activities will cost $10. A “Big Pumpkin Weigh-in and Contest” will start at 11 a.m.

Two free concerts will be held at the Pour House, located at 102 S. Main St.: Paul Michael Davis performing from noon to 3 p.m., and Renegade performing from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The Great Smoke Out BBQ contest will be held on Main Street, starting at noon, with teams of locals smoking meats in three categories: loins, ribs and chef’s choice. Samples given out to the public will be available throughout the day, and awards will be given out at the end of the day’s festivities, based on popular vote. A vintage and classic car, bike, and tractor show will take place on Market St. from 1-3 p.m.

After the parade, folks can head to the United Methodist Church’s parking lot for trunk-or-treating. Free pumpkin bingo will also be held at the church, from 1-2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. Tanya’s School of Dance will host a dance for pre-teens and teens in the church’s parking lot, also following the parade.

Going on from 1-8 p.m. will be a “Moonlight Flea Market” held at the American Legion.

A variety of food vendors will be on hand all day.

Funds raised during Laurel-Ween will jointly benefit the pediatric cancer research fund and the American Legion.

From now until Oct. 28, residents of Laurel can compete in a house decorating contest. Those outside the immediate city limits of Laurel who would like to participate, need to sign up; in town residents do not.

While the BBQ contest is full, the planning committee is still seeking parade entries, and those interesting in participating in the heavy 10K and bike ride. For more information, visit the Laurel-Ween Facebook page or contact Sharer-Pieters at: 641-691-5205.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com