Walk, bike, or run – whatever your preference, there is an event for you next weekend in Laconia, NH, where the 5th annual WOW Fest is taking place. There will be road races, bicycle challenges, and a fun walk followed by a BBQ luncheon, live music, and many family-friendly activities. This annual event is one of the most important fundraisers for the WOW Trail, a four-season, paved trail that is in development for non-motorized activities. Event organizers are encouraging the community to come out next Saturday, have some fun, get some exercise, and support the WOW Trail!
WOW Fest ’13 will take place on Saturday, September 14th from 11am to 2pm, and features 5K and 10K road races, 15-mile and 67-mile bicycle challenges, and a 3-mile fun walk. All events begin and end at the Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, while utilizing a portion of the WOW Trail that has already been completed. Bank of New Hampshire is the Presenting Sponsor of this popular event.
The WOW Fest is a fundraiser and celebration of the Winnisquam – Opechee – Winnipesaukee (WOW) Trail, a multi-use, non-motorized recreational pathway that will eventually stretch 9 miles along the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railway bed, through Laconia to the Meredith and Belmont town lines, connecting with other trail systems. Phase I was completed in May of 2010 and comprises the first 1.3 miles of a paved, 10-foot wide path connecting Lakeport to downtown Laconia.
“Bank of New Hampshire is proud to support the WOW Trail and the 2013 WOW Fest Event,” explains Mark Primeau, President and CEO of Bank of New Hampshire. “This is an exciting event that encourages all of us to get out and get active while supporting this worthy project. We believe the WOW Trail contributes to the health and economic vitality of our community and we support its’ continued growth.”
Fundraising for Phase II of the trail is in process. Phase II will double the length of the WOW Trail, extending it from downtown Laconia to the planned Belmont trail. According to WOW Fest Event Director, Jennifer Beetle, the land survey has been completed and the organization has hired H.E. Bergeron Engineering Co., who also designed Phase I. “Design for Phase II is underway, and if all goes as planned, we will construct in 2014,” says Jennifer. In addition to raising funds for construction of Phase II, the WOW Trail group has established a maintenance fund to assist the City of Laconia with trail upkeep.
Registration for any of the WOW Fest events includes a BBQ luncheon, live music, entertainment, and kids’ activities. For those not participating in one of the events, festival admission is $10 ($5 for children 12 years and under) and includes the BBQ and all the family fun! The luncheon is provided courtesy of Fratello’s Italian Grille, T-Bones Great American Eatery, The Common Man Family of Restaurants, and Patrick’s Pub & Eatery.
“This is a really great event that will appeal to the entire community,” says Jennifer. “We’ve got five great events for people to get out and get some exercise and have some fun while supporting the continued expansion of the WOW Trail. It’s a very fun time.”
Participants who would like to help raise money for The WOW Trail are invited to do so by soliciting sponsorship donations. As a special incentive, participants who raise $100 will receive a WOW Fest sweatshirt; those who raise $250 will receive a WOW Fest Jacket; and those who raise $500 will receive the WOW Fest jacket and a $100 gift certificate to any participating sponsor.
Teams are encouraged to compete for bragging rights, including the team with most participants, the team that is ‘best dressed’, the team that raises the most money, and the teams with the fastest 5K and 10K finishers.
The Mill Falls Blogging Team
photos courtesy of WOW Trail