Since 2012, the Downtown Dash Committee and its sponsors have contributed more than $27,000 to fund beautification projects in downtown Clinton. While its annual October event is being handed over to Sampson Arts Council this year, that visual impact will be seen for years in the heart of Sampson, organizers and city officials said.
The Downtown Dash 5K, 10K and Fun Run will be replaced with the first-ever Rockin’ Run for the Arts 5K and Fun Run as part of the Court Square Street Fair and BBQ Cook-Off festivities this year. Presented by the Sampson Arts Council, it will take place at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.
Born out of the idea of bringing more people to downtown Clinton, Downtown Dash has flourished since its inception.
Dash committee member Alison Carr said that success would not have been possible if not for the dedication of committee members, support from local business sponsors, participation from runners and fruitful partnerships with the Clinton Main Street Program and City of Clinton.
“Over the last five years, our race has become a signature event that people look forward to,” said Carr. “I am thrilled to pass this event on to the Sampson County Arts Council and know that they will continue to host great races for years to come.”
Not just great races, the event raised money for the downtown that annually hosted it.
In 2012, the Downtown Dash Committee presented the city with its first contribution of $1,200, used to purchase a decorative picnic table for the Clinton City Market. The next year, a contribution of $4,045 purchased an additional picnic table, as well as decorative trash receptacles for the downtown. In 2014, a $5,000 contribution assisted with landscaping at the “Milling Around” art piece, and in 2015, the $6,000 contribution purchased the “Welcome to Downtown Clinton” sign as well as a decorative bicycle rack for the J.C. Holliday Library.
Even though the 2016 race was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew, a donation of $10,871.93 — the largest check yet — will be presented to the City Council next month, bringing the total amount bestowed to the city to $27,117.43. Working with the Clinton Main Street Program Design Committee, the Downtown Dash is looking forward to funding an alleyway project.
“I enjoyed my time coordinating and participating in the Downtown Dash over the last five years, and I am very proud of how much we were able to give back to the City of Clinton,” said Dash Committee member Amanda Bradshaw. “I am excited to see the race continue and look forward to the changes the Arts Council has made with hopes of bringing more runners to this event.”
Mary M. Rose, director of the Clinton-Sampson Planning Department and Clinton Main Street manager, said the Downtown Dash Committee embodies the Main Street Program’s credo that “partnerships make great things happen.”
“We are appreciative of their hard work and efforts, as well as of the contributions from sponsors who made this event possible,” Rose remarked. “We also look forward to working with the Sampson Arts Council and appreciate their willingness to step in and provide another great event in downtown Clinton.”
Kara Donatelli, executive director of the Sampson Arts Council, said Rockin’ Run for the Arts will offer an open-road course in and around the downtown, with a combination of flat terrain and a few hills on a “fun, but challenging” trek. Runners will also encounter local musicians at intervals along the way. The start-line window will open at 8:30 a.m. at the Vance Street Tree Park and pre-race festivities will include music, dancing and warm-up stretching.
To register for this year’s Rockin’ Run, visit www.runtheeast.com or contact the Sampson Arts Council at 910-596-2533. Rockin’ Run will raise money to support the arts in Sampson County. To learn more about the Arts Council and its programming, visit www.sampsonarts.net.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.