Scenes from the 22nd annual Running of the Boots held on Sept. 17

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Angie and Ryan Hutchins make for a jumbo-sized pair of XtraTufs as they run past St. Michael The Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral during the Running of the Boots on Sept. 17, 2016, in Sitka.

It was rainy in Sitka on Saturday, Sept. 17 (stop the presses), but the rain abated long enough for us to hold the 22nd annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network.

racestartThis year there was a new start-finish line and course, as our big tent was set up in Totem Square park and runners ran along Lincoln Street from Totem Square to the stoplight and back. We had a shark and fisherman, a jumbo-sized pair of XtraTufs, a young lad as Captain America, a young lady as Strawberry Shortcake, and more in the costume contest.

The Running of the Boots is an annual fundraising event for the Sitka Local Foods Network, whose mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. The Sitka Local Foods Network operates the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, the Sitka Farmers Market, and hosts an education program that includes the family garden mentoring project.

The Running of the Boots is part of the Season’s-End Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association, where Sitka residents were served hamburgers, hot dogs, salmon and cole slaw to celebrate the end of the summer.

The Sitka Local Foods Network also hosted a produce booth at the Running of the Boots, with produce from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden. By the way, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt said we still have enough produce growing that she can sell 5-10 weekly boxes of produce through the next month. She said the boxes will run $30, and will likely contain about four pounds of carrots, two pounds of potatoes,  two pounds of beets, one bundle of chard, one head of lettuce, with other possibilities such as cucumbers, basil, a half-dozen eggs, etc. She also has an excess of zucchini. To learn more, contact Laura at ljschmidt835@hotmail.com.

A slideshow of scenes from the 22nd annual Running of the Boots is posted below. Click this link for a story on KCAW-Raven Radio about the event.

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21st annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network

RunningOfTheBoots2015

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 21st annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the big tent near St. Michael of the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Lincoln Street.

This will be the third year featuring a new meeting point and course, allowing the race to be a bigger part of the End-of-Season Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association. In addition to the Running of the Boots, the End-of-Season Celebration includes a lunch from noon to 3 p.m. for Sitka residents featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, and fish. Instead of being free, this year people are asked to make a donation to the Sitka High School activities fund when they get their lunch.

“We’re going to have a blast this year under a huge tent right in the middle of Lincoln Street,” race organizer Kerry MacLane said. “This isn’t just for kids. Some of our most memorable entries have been adults. This is a chance to accessorize your boots, or go all out and come as your most wearable art creature from outer space. We’ll have great live music, hot chocolate, and there is even a great local lunch after oodles of prizes have been awarded.”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The new course starts by St. Michael’s Cathedral, and heads down Lincoln Street toward City Hall, takes a left on Harbor Drive and loops up Maksoutov Street and back to the starting line.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11 a.m. As usual, local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Alaska Quest electronic benefit cards.

“Not only is the Running of the Boots a blast, it supports the local foods movement,” MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888, or by email at maclanekerry@yahoo.com. We also need several volunteers to help set up and take down the race (two needed) and to judge the costumes (two needed). Contact Kerry MacLane to learn how to volunteer.

Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/. Info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-14) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ (type Running of the Boots into the search bar at the top of the page).

Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork and follow our Twitter page at https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods (@SitkaLocalFoods) to stay updated on Sitka Local Foods Network activities.

Click this link to see a slideshow from the 2014 Running of the Boots.

20th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network

RunningOfTheBoots2014LowRez

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 20th annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the big tent near St. Michael of the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Lincoln Street.

This will be the second year featuring a new meeting point and course, allowing the race to be a bigger part of the End-of-Season Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association.

“I’m excited about the Running of the Boots joining the End-of-Season folks under one big tent … literally,” race organizer Kerry MacLane said. “We’ll have music, hot chocolate, and folks can enjoy a complimentary lunch after oodles of prizes have been awarded.”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The new course starts by St. Michael’s Cathedral, and heads down Lincoln Street toward City Hall, takes a left on Harbor Drive and loops up Maksoutov Street and back to the starting line.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11 a.m. As usual, local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Quest cards.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888, or by email at maclanekerry@yahoo.com.

Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/. Info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-13) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ (type Running of the Boots into the search bar at the top of the page). Click here to see a slideshow of scenes from last year’s event.

Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork to stay updated on Sitka Local Foods Network activities.

Scenes from the 19th annual Running of the Boots

RaceStartsPilotBoyLooksAtGirlThe 19th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network took place on Saturday, Sept. 28, as part of the End-Of-Season Celebration.

This year the race had a new course, starting in front of St. Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral and heading out Lincoln Street before looping onto Harbor Drive near City Hall and finishing on Maksoutov Street. There also were prizes for costumes, a table with late-season produce from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, a band, and more.

A slideshow of scenes from the race follows below:

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19th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network

RunningOfTheBoots2013LowRez

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 19th annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the big tents near St. Michael of the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Lincoln Street. This year’s event features a new meeting point and course, allowing the race to be a bigger part of the End-of-Season Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association.

“I’m excited about the Running of the Boots joining the End-of-Season folks under one big tent … literally,” race organizer Kerry MacLane said. “We’ll have music, hot chocolate, and folks can enjoy a complimentary lunch after oodles of prizes have been awarded.”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The new course starts by St. Michael’s Cathedral, and heads down Lincoln Street toward City Hall, takes a left on Harbor Drive and loops up Maksoutov Street and back to the starting line.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11 a.m. Local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest, including a flightseeing trip for three, toys, gift certificates and pies. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Quest cards.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888, or by email at maclanekerry@yahoo.com. Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/, and info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-12) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.  Also, like our new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork.

Sitka gives open streets a try as part of Sitka Downtown Revitalization project

DANCING IN THE STREET – New Archangel Dancers Stacey Woolsey and Angela McGraw dance arm-in-arm this morning in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral. Two blocks of central Lincoln Street were closed to vehicles from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today as part of an experiment to make the town more attractive and safer for tourists. The closure allowed street vendors to fill the space and non-profits such as the dancers to perform. Lincoln Street from in front of Ben Franklin to Barracks Street will again be blocked off June 19 and 26 and July 3. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson, http://sitkasentinel.com/7/images/frontpageimage/naddowntownws.jpg)

DANCING IN THE STREET – New Archangel Dancers Stacey Woolsey and Angela McGraw dance arm-in-arm this morning in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral. Two blocks of central Lincoln Street were closed to vehicles from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today as part of an experiment to make the town more attractive and safer for tourists. The closure allowed street vendors to fill the space and non-profits such as the dancers to perform. Lincoln Street from in front of Ben Franklin to Barracks Street will again be blocked off June 19 and 26 and July 3. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson, http://sitkasentinel.com/7/images/frontpageimage/naddowntownws.jpg)

Two blocks of downtown Sitka were closed off to cars on Wednesday, June 12, to allow tourists and locals to shop and enjoy the downtown. This is the first of four straight Wednesdays (June 12, 19, 26 and July 3) where the streets will be open to pedestrians and bikers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as an experiment being tried by the Sitka Downtown Revitalization and Walk Sitka projects that came out of the 2012 Sitka Health Summit.

Closing off downtown streets to traffic and opening them up to walkers, bikers and play is a concept being tried in many communities around the country. Called Open Streets, the basic premise is a local street festival designed to draw people downtown where they can shop, be entertained and interact with their neighbors. Open Streets events also can be farmers markets, arts/music festivals and more.

This isn’t the first time Sitka has closed off downtown streets to traffic and opened them up for walkers and bikers, but previous closures usually were tied to special events such as the End Of Season Celebration/Running of the Boots race or parades. There also have been occasional sidewalk sales or trick-or-treating events that saw downtown streets opened for pedestrians.

Cyndy Gibson organized Wednesday’s pedestrian mall for the Sitka Downtown Revitalization project, and she made this comment in a KCAW-Raven Radio story aired Wednesday night:

For a couple of reasons. One is to encourage more time in the downtown area, and more shopping. When you have more of a unique one-of-a-kind experience when you’re traveling, you’re more inclined to maybe shop for something a little more expensive, or a little more meaningful.

Future Open Streets events in Sitka will feature musicians from the Sitka Summer Music Festival and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, as well as other entertainment.