Local kids enjoy racing turkey during Turkey Run

Nova Smith, far left, and brother Nolan Smith, left in green, try to overtake the turkey. — Photo by Michael Cummo

A Grace Episcopal Church Pre-school student looked down at his medal and medallion-bedecked chest on Saturday morning at Owen Park in Vineyard Haven and analyzed his effort.

“Well, I finished fifth, but I did a good job,” he said. Indeed, he was one of about two dozen Grace Church pre-schoolers and alumni, aged three to eight, to complete the traditional school Turkey Run, a grueling but blessedly brief jaunt from Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Main Street up the hill to Owen Park.

“I think this is our 10th year,” said Penny Wong, race coordinator and director of the Grace Church Pre-school at the finish line. “The kids love it. Our alumni even come back to run it.
Every kid gets the same prize: a medal, a bottle of water and a clementine.”

Families enjoy the event as well, judging from the number of parents and grandparents congratulating the mite participants at the finish line before many headed back down hill to Waterside Restaurant and to Mocha Mott’s for a celebratory hot chocolate.

The feel-good event is also a significant fundraiser for the pre-school. “We may raise $1,500 this year, money we can use to pay for music and art enrichment programs and for off-Island field trips,” Ms. Wong said. “The enrichment programs are an important part of our (syllabus). Kids enjoy and learn from our music program presented by Jenni Powers and from the drama program developed by Phyllis Vecchia. Our field trips range from a visit to the Ag Hall in West Tisbury to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence and the Woods Hole Aquarium. If parents are interested, there are still openings in our pre-school program.”

Island businesses have also become donors with Cronig’s, MV Savings Bank, MV Tech, Landswork Landscape, and Action Home Services all donating $100 to the event.