By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — WOODLAWN — Chapman Park will be a beehive of activity on Oct. 5 as the third annual Gold Rush Days will be celebrated in this Jefferson County village.
The community celebration actually begins on Friday, Oct. 4, when two events will be held. A junior high glow in the dark dodge ball game will be held at 7 p.m. at Woodlawn Grade School; and starting at 8 p.m. a glow in the dark volleyball game will be held for high-school age students at the park.
A full slate of activities are scheduled on Saturday, beginning with a 5K run at 8 a.m. Race participants can pre-register on the web site www.goldrushdays5k.com.
Craft and food vendors will be available throughout the day. Games and activities for the children, including inflatables, will also be available.
"This is totally put on by volunteers in the community," said Tracy Thomas, one of the Gold Rush Days committee members. "We have 15 members on the committee, but we depend a lot on our local sorority, Delta Theta Tau, and our local Boy Scout troops are wonderful in helping out. The FFA program at Woodlawn High School assists with the petting zoo."
Roger Hayse is the chairman of this year's celebration.
Entertainment on the main stage begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the Southern Illinois Miners mascots will be available from 10 a.m. to noon.
A softball tournament will start at 11 a.m., and Thomas said there is still room for a couple more teams. The entry fee is $100 per team. Anyone interested in joining the tournament may call Thomas at 237-0145.
A praise concert will be held at 6 p.m. with worship and praise teams from several area churches participating.
Matter of Days, a band that opened for Kansas at the Du Quoin State Fair recently, will be the main entertainment, although a time has not been scheduled. Thomas anticipated it will be some time during the afternoon, prior to the praise concert.
The day's activities will culminate with the fireworks show at dusk. Several area businesses are helping defray the costs of the fireworks display.
"I hate to put a price tag on our celebration, but it takes about $15,000 to put it on," Thomas said. "Obviously, personal and corporate sponsors really help. We do some fundraisers, but the generosity of businesses is what makes it happen."
Thomas said there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to assist with the day's activities, including helping with the children's area, the 5K run, and parking.
"It takes a lot of people to help us out," Thomas said.