I had an exciting weekend! Saturday, Dec. 2nd in Cleveland, OH was the 5th annual Christmas Story Run 5k/10k race and walk. It's an EXTREMELY FUN fundraiser for the Tremont neighborhood that surrounds A Christmas Story House & Museum. This year's event featured several special guests--more on that in a minute! The race starts in front of the former Higbee's department store in downtown Cleveland--where the parade and the Higbee's department store scenes were filmed for the original 1983 movie. The race ends in front of A Christmas Story House & Museum--which just happens to be 3.1 miles from downtown. It's the perfect 5k race.
|This year I wore my Pink Nightmare suit--and my boyfriend dressed as an elf.|
It's kind of a big deal. Thousands of people come from all over the country (and around the world) to walk or run the race course each year. Nearly everyone wears a costume or their best Christmas bling. And, the crowds are in the best holiday spirit--it's the friendliest gathering of people you'll ever encounter.
|The race medals are always fantastic! This year's features Flick stuck to the metal pole and the center spins!|
The costumes were outrageous this year. Of course, there are countless runners in pink bunny suits, leg lamp costumes, people dressed as wooden crates marked 'fragile,' runners wearing Flick hats or Schwartz hats, and even a few Santa Clauses. However, you'd probably be surprised how many folks dress up in black-and-white striped bandit costumes too. I saw quite a few participants with turkey hats (wait a minute, it'll come to you! It's a reference to the Bumpus Hounds and their favorite meal). I saw several Sheriff Ralphies in white cowboy hats and western gear, and there were a trio of Miss Shields look-alikes--one woman was brilliantly dressed as the Victorian/fantasy school teacher! I even saw one intrepid woman dressed exactly like Randy--stuffed tight into a red snowsuit. There was no shortage of people dressed as elves, Christmas trees, and wrapped in Christmas lights, bows, tinsel, and ornaments. This race also sees its fair share of people dressed as Cousin Eddie, Will Ferrell's Elf, and a couple of Wet Bandits! I told you this event is a lot of fun. They also hand out warm Ovaltine at the finish line--this is the total Christmas experience.
|Post-race photo in front of A Christmas Story House. The woman to the left in the blue jacket is wearing a turkey hat--can you make it out!?|
|"I want you to write...a theme." Here she is Miss Shields.|
|I should have brought her a fruit basket.|
As a part of the event, they also welcomed several special guests and offered meet-and-greet opportunities. On Friday afternoon, I went to packet pick-up and got to meet actor Tedde Moore, the woman who plays the schoolteacher Miss Shields in A Christmas Story. She couldn't have been nicer. She overheard me talking to someone else about my encyclopedia Tis the Season TV, which includes every Christmas-themed special, episode and movie, and she asked if her other holiday movie was included. She was of course speaking about the 2011 Hallmark movie Mistletoe Over Manhattan. I had to explain that it will be in the next edition of the encyclopedia since the book first came out in 2010. But it was a wonderful exchange we shared.
|A Christmas Story book authors: Joanna and Tyler Schwartz.|
Is it possible? I was even more excited to meet another special guest at the event. Tyler Schwartz was there! Tyler and I have spoken on the phone before, but this was our first meeting in person. He is the documentary filmmaker of Road Trip for Ralphie, the book author of A Christmas Story Treasury, and he runs the pop culture Christmas store Retro Festive in Canada. He is A Christmas Story superfan. Tyler was generous enough to recommend survival tips for me when I recreated my 24-hour marathon of the movie--which became the book Triple Dog Dare. It was wonderful to finally meet him in person. I also got him to sign a copy of his book for me!
|You've seen Tyler's documentary and the read his book, right?|
Follow A Christmas Story Run on Facebook to see more photos of this year's race.
Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com