The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History kicks off the holiday season Saturday with fun for all ages

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — The Wrightsville Beach Museum is holding its 8th annual Jingle Bell 5K Walk and Run on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. The race begins and ends at the museum, using The Loop as the main part of the race course.

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Runners dressed as Santa for the Jingle Bell 5k. (Courtesy: Madeline Flagler)

This race started in 2009 with 200 runners. All registrations went through the museum. There was no on-line option so we went to the mailbox each morning to retrieve the registrations and tally all the information, first by hand and then transfer it all into the computer. It was tedious but it gave it a personal touch that we continue to value and work to achieve.

The run quickly became a signature event for the museum. We encouraged runners to dress in holiday costumes and they have really responded to that. People come in all types of costumes: traditional Santas, snowmen, elves, reindeer, packages, and more fanciful costumes such as the 12 days of Christmas, snowflakes, Grinch etc.

It has developed to the point where it is as much fun to observe as it is to actually run. As the costumes prevailed we began to award costume prizes. As people began to bring pets in elf and Santa attire, we began to award pet costume prizes. As families flocked to the race we created family and team discounts to encourage them to be an important part of the race.

This year we expect 700 runners. Christmas music will begin as early as 6:30 am and even the museum volunteers and timing people have Santa hats and festive clothing. As the museum parking lot fills with hundreds of people in green and red attire and all in between with Christmas music wafting above us all, it is a truly festive place to be.

Parkway Subaru will have a pace car with Santa. Local Boy Scouts will man the water tables along the course. This year we have local CERT volunteers to monitor the race course. These volunteers are trained by FEMA in emergency and event logistics. Local grocery stores, water company and food purveyors provide post-race food for the runners.

This year we have really fun new skullcap beanies for the first 300 runners. They are black with red, green and yellow stitching for a great-looking warm hat! Join us to see who wins the costume prizes and who can run the fastest. Come and run or just come and be a part of the festivities!

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A Loop through History sign for, ‘The Lumina’. (Courtesy: Madeline Flagler)

Before the run we will put out the signs along The Loop for what we call our Loop Through History walking tour.

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Local youth on the ‘Loop through History’. (Courtesy: Madeline Flagler)

Our board member, Donna Starling, has developed an illustrated history tour with 25 signs to go along The Loop that reveal history on that site or nearby. Each sign has an array of vintage photographs and an informative paragraph describing the historical context of that area.

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‘Loop through History’ Tour stop. (Courtesy: Madeline Flagler)

On tour days the signs will be up from sunrise to sunset so you can walk the 2.45 miles and pick up history tidbits and trivia about our favorite beach.

On other days a brochure at the museum and a page on our website will be available for those interested in the tour. We premiered the tour for Flotilla Weekend, and will have it up again on Saturday to celebrate our Loop race. A minimum of 6-8 more dates for the tour signage will be announced in January. Individuals have been sponsoring sites that have meaning for them or ones that are near their home. This is a great Christmas gift for someone who loves Wrightsville Beach.

Some of the signage themes: Hurricane Hazel, Wrightsville Beach School, Wrightsville Beach Piers, Innovative research at The Nickel Plant and Saline Research Plant, Lumina, The Oceanic Hotel, Carolina Yacht Club, Banks Channel, Harbor Island, Bathing suits, Babies Hospital, etc.

SUPPORT THE MUSEUM

Both the run and the walking tour are fundraisers for the museum. Registrations and sponsorship from Jingle Bell 5K Run and Walk support the museum and sponsorship of the Loop Through History signs do as well. The museum receives no public funding so that these funding projects are vital to us. We need to continue our strong and growing outreach: monthly children’s programs, new fossil rock and a lifeguard stand in the play area, an upgraded website, oral history projects and new exhibits.

In addition we have ongoing everyday expenses and the unexpected items that are part of being open to the public all year such as the major work done on our porch last summer and more that needs to be done this spring. Join us on Saturday and experience what the museum has to offer! To find out more, visit http://wbmuseumofhistory.com/ .

-Content provided by Madeline Flagler, Director, Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

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