The Festivus 5K (F5K) for Autism is a yearly Festivus-themed holiday race through historic Salem, Massachusetts.
By “Festivus” themed, it is meant there are Seinfeld themed costumes, an aluminum pole and even a grievance contest. Sounds like fun? It is! More importantly though, to date the race has raised over $30,000 to help children with autism and their families.
Link to Website: http://www.festivus5k.com/
The 2015 race will be held on 13 December and will raise money to help the Northshore Education Consortium of Beverly, MA purchase technology to help educate students with autism.
“This year we are trying to raise money for the Northshore Education Consortium in Beverly, MA,” race founder Cindy Johnson explained. “They have a technology campaign and we want to help them purchase technology to communicate with and educate students on the spectrum. ”
That being said, there is still lots of room for fun. The race does feature a tempting schmear of Festivus and Seinfeld-themed awards. The overall male and female winners receive a Festivus pole trophy and the top overall team wins “The Wiz” award. (Because nobody beats “The Wiz”. Nobody.) In fact, the overall winner in the 2014 race commented that the first place desktop Festivus pole trophy was “the coolest trophy he’d ever gotten.”
There are also awards for best costume. Costumes must be holiday or Seinfeld-themed, and the race has seen an increase in the number of runners that show up dressed as Seinfeld characters. Secondly, there is a grievance contest where runners are encouraged to air their grievances on race day… basically they are asked to openly share their disappointment about something. Grievances are collected and then judged. The best of the bunch are placed on a board and prizes are awarded. Last year the grand prize was a case of Junior Mints.
The Festivus pole is also a big hit. At the end of the race, participants flock to the pole to take a picture. Now that you’ve heard about the pole, are you wondering if there are Feats of Strength? Well, the race itself is a feat of strength, and as Cindy has remarked, “the Feat of Strength comes from our ‘Feet of Strength’.”
“We are doing our part to help spread Festivus cheer!” Cindy Johnson said. “The first year had many people running because the race fit into their calendar, or Festivus-loving friends encouraged them to sign up. Now, everyone who runs knows what Festivus is all about.”
Usually about 400 runners participate. However, Cindy says, “We also have had virtual runners from around the world participate from countries such as Mozambique, Germany, Thailand, Paraguay, and Mali. Festivus is for the rest of us, so we work hard to accommodate everyone!”
So, if you are interested in supporting the cause, but you don’t live in the Salem area, remember that they do accept virtual runners! “I have a runner who used to live in MA but moved to CA,” Cindy explained. “He asked if he could run virtually because it is his favorite 5K!”
Visit the website http://www.festivus5k.com/ for more information.