This coming weekend marks the fourth annual Turkey Trot 5K Run and the last Saturday Farmers Market of this season. The Turkey Trot has grown every year with several hundred runners expected for this year's event.
Trot proceeds will benefit the Main Street Farmers Market and the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education.
"We encourage everyone to participate in this year's Turkey Trot," said Lori Durden, vice president for Economic Development at Ogeechee Technical College. "The run benefits two great Statesboro causes."
This year, the run is being promoted regionally by its founders as well as the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"When visitors come to Statesboro, they are always looking for something to do, to give them a reason to stay an extra day or two," said Heidi Jeffers, executive director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau. "These are both excellent events, that are wonderful to attend and a great attraction for Statesboro."
Race organizer Steve Chester said an awards ceremony will be held at the Main Street Farmers Market after the race.
"I hope that race participants, and those coming out for the fun will go to the Farmers Market afterwards to enjoy breakfast at the grits bar, featuring Freeman's Mill stone ground grits topped with delicious foods from the market made for you by the chefs of Ogeechee Technical College's culinary department," Chester said.
In addition to the race and Farmers Market on Saturday, shopping by Lantern Light will be held next Tuesday, Nov. 22, to mark the end of the season.
"This will be the fourth year for Shopping by Lantern Light, which is becoming a signature event for our region," said Debra Chester, an organizer of the event. "The event helps to kick off the holiday season where shoppers may find locally-grown foods and handmade crafts for their holiday gatherings. The downtown Sea Island Bank parking area will once again be transformed into an old-fashioned market place, and Lantern lights will provide a soft glow over choices to be made from the dozens of food & craft booths."
Chester said Shopping by Lantern Light is the largest market of the season with a variety of produce, meats, plants, and unique crafts.
"This is where you can purchase the freshest and safest foods for your Thanksgiving meals and gifts for the holidays while supporting our local economy and specifically our market vendors," she said. "Everything you need for holiday meals can be found at the event, including turkey, dressing, and fresh-baked desserts. We have experienced a successful market season, and this last opportunity to come together is especially anticipated by the farmers and the community."
Steve Chester believes 2011 may be a "break out" year for the Turkey Trot.
"We are really trying to make this a regional event, to attract folks to participate from all around," he said. "We are adding a mascot run with your favorite school and business mascots including one from each of the following - Manny's Neighborhood Grille, Chick-fil-A, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Variety's, Statesboro Regional Library, Northland Cable, Monkey Joe's, Vandy's BBQ, and Keep Bulloch Beautiful. It is going to be a lot of fun, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful."
Jeffers said events such as these are wonderful marketing tools for promoting the community.
"We have a calendar that we update on our website which lets people know every event that is happening here," she said. "If you call us, we will post your event. We want people to know how much is going on in Statesboro and Bulloch County, and all of things they can do when they come and visit."