SouthPark families invited to go ‘romping’ for holidays

It’s easy to forget about working out and eating healthy during the holidays, what with shopping, holiday work deadlines, out-of-town visitors and disrupted school schedules to deal with. Luckily for area families, the Krueger Reindeer Romp is returning to SouthPark to help burn a few calories and secure some family time.

(Above) Kids show off their elf hats at last year’s Reindeer Romp in south Charlotte.

(Above) Kids show off their elf hats at last year’s Reindeer Romp in south Charlotte.

This is the second year for the newly revamped event, which will take place Dec. 14, a Saturday, at the Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Road. People can walk or run the 5K or take part in the shorter Santa’s Express Fun Run, and event organizers hope the Reindeer Romp will continue to grow as a holiday habit in south Charlotte.

“It’s just a fun, healthy holiday tradition,” said Kate Wheeler, Harris YMCA senior health and wellness director. “We get so caught up this time of year in the busyness and craziness and food and things that maybe aren’t the healthiest.”

The event will feature a number of family favorites, including photos with Santa Claus, a hot chocolate station, s’mores and music. There also will be a costume contest for kids and groups, with the best dressed winning prizes, and a visit from the Charlotte Hounds lacrosse team mascot. The first 800 people to register will receive a hooded sweatshirt, and race organizers hope this year’s participants beat the 900 seen last year.

Registration fees for the 5K are $30 if paid by Dec. 12, or $40 on race day. There is no cost to attend the fun run.

Entry fees will benefit the YMCA’s Community Support Campaign, which helps people across the Charlotte region. This event will especially help the Y Readers program, Wheeler said, which helps children who are performing below grade level by engaging them in active learning and enrichment to improve literacy skills and build self-confidence in school. The program, a six-week camp, helps hundreds of area children.

The event also will help the Hoskins Park Ministries, a homeless ministry in west Charlotte. The Harris YMCA hosts Room In The Inn twice a month throughout the winter, and Hoskins provides a bed for men who stay at the YMCA Room In The Inn. A group of men who Hoskins has helped will serve as volunteers at the Reindeer Romp.

In all, Wheeler hopes people will take time out next weekend for some fun, festival family time.

“We’re a family organization,” Wheeler said, “and we’re big on making things available for the whole family and keeping everyone together for the holidays.”

The Reindeer Romp will head north from the Harris YMCA and along Severn and Rhodes avenues and Chandworth Road before ending at the center.

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