Time to Lace Up Your Shoes for 5 Mile 5K Races, Lit’l Kernel Puff |

Karyn Brodsky Times correspondent

It’s that time of year again. the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival is almost here and the 44th annual Popcorn Panic, Jr. Kernel Run and Lit’l Kernel Puff Run kick off the festivities.

The Popcorn Panic takes place on the day of the Popcorn Festival, September 10, with the option of a 5 mile run and a 5k run/walk. Both start and end in downtown Valparaiso at Central Park Plaza, in front of the statue of Orville Redenbacher.

The 5 mile race starts at 7:20 a.m. and the 5k run/walk is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. The course closes at 8:45 a.m. to make way for the Lit’l Kernel Puff race and pop-up parade. corn.

Valpo Parks Director of Special Events Christina Darr said attendees are encouraged to pre-register for the Popcorn Panic online at valpoparks.org.

The packages will be available Sept. 7 and 8 at Extra Mile Fitness Co., 1330 E. Lincolnway, Darr said.

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Runners and walkers can also register in person and pick up a registration packet at the Butterfield Family Pavilion (Calumet and Evans Avenues) in Fairgrounds Park from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 9. “Online registration is available the morning of the panic,” Darr said.

Fees for the 5-mile run and 5k run/walk are $38 until September 9 and $43 on September 10.

Awards include Top Male and Top Female, Top Male and Top Female, and Top 3 Male and Female in various age groups. 5K participants are encouraged to form teams, which must have at least four finishers to be eligible for a team prize. Team members are also eligible for individual rewards.

If you’re a parent picking up your Popcorn Panic Race entry packet on September 9, why not take the kids with you for the Jr. Kernel Run? Kids ages 8-12 can take part in this fun ¾-mile lap race around the Fairgrounds park track at 6 p.m. Register your child online at valpoparks.org. The Jr. Kernel Run fee is $15 per child and all participants will receive a t-shirt.

The Lit’l Kernel Puff starts at 8:30 am on September 10 after the Popcorn Panic. It is open to children from 2 to 9 years old. The race will start in waves, with distances of 100 to 300 meters, depending on the age of the child. Please note that parents do not run with their children. All children will receive a T-shirt and a participation ribbon.

Families can register their child at valpoparks.org or in person at the Butterfield Family Pavilion (Calumet and Evans Avenues) at Fairgrounds Park, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 9. The fee is $22 per child. Race day registration is not available.

The sports festivities will begin with the Jr. Kernel Run at 6 p.m. on September 9 at Fairgrounds Park, 704 McCord Road. Open to children ages 8 to 12, the run is three-quarters of a mile on the park’s walking track. The fee is $15 including a t-shirt. Kits will be available at the Butterfield Pavilion (Calumet and Evens Avenues) Register at www.valpoparks.org

Race event sponsors include Puntillo & Crane Orthodontics, AM Stabilizers, Athletico Physical Therapy, Extra Mile Fitness Co., Gariup Construction, Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Healthlinc, Nuppnau Lawn & Snow, Think Tank NTG, Urschel, Valparaiso Fit Body Boot Camp and Wings Etc.

Valpo Parks is bringing back the popular Lit’l Kernel Korral play area for kids. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on September 10 on the North Lawn of the Northwest Health Amphitheater. Activities at Korral, presented by Healthlinc and Valpo Parks, include face painting, balloon art, games and a DJ.

“I’m thrilled to be part of an event that has such a positive impact on so many people,” Darr said.

For more information on Popcorn Panic, Jr. Kernel Run, Lit’l Kernel Puff and Kernel Korral, visit valpoparks.org.

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