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Blessing of the bikes slated for Saturday

T-R FILE PHOTO The 24th annual Blessing of the Bikes, a fundraiser that brings in money for the benefit of several local charities and organizations, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the South Sixth Street Softball Complex.

For the past 24 years, Jackie and Fred Ingraham of F&J Racing, 701 N. Third Ave., have organized the Blessing of the Bikes, a fundraiser that brings in money for the benefit of several local charities and organizations. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Softball Complex on South Sixth Street.

“I believe in helping other people. I was raised that way. As I got into knowing more about motorcycles, I realized more about this community, and decided to have an event once we moved our shop (to its current location),” Jackie Ingraham said.

The event draws hundreds of bikers from around Iowa and neighboring states for a day of riding, fellowship and fun. A $10 gate fee gets you into the event, which will include live entertainment, vendors, activities, door prizes, food and a silent auction.

This year’s Blessing of the Bikes is in memory of Kevin O’Donnell.

Charities that will benefit from the event include: Veterans Recreation Fund, Youth and Shelter Services, Emergency Food Box, Marshalltown Fireman Fund and the Blessing Fund (Marshalltown Police Identified Emergency Fund).

A highlight each year is the blessing of the bikes by a minster, which will take place at noon. It offers bikers a blessing for a safe riding season.

Although designed for motorcycle enthusiasts, the event is for anyone and is family-friendly.

Ingraham said she is amazed at the support from the community she continues to receive, as well as the increase in attendance each year.

Modest attendance its first year — 1995 — around 100 people showed up.

“Then we needed a larger space. We used to hold it at the American Legion Golf Course, but then outgrew that,” she said. “I never thought it would grow like it has.”

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