Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hailey to celebrate Arbor Day this weekend

City to host 1st annual Mud Run

Express Staff Writer

Arbor Day festivities are going to get messy this Saturday in Hailey's Hop Porter Park when the Hailey Tree Committee hosts its first ArborFest Mud Run.

In addition to the usual kid-friendly activities such as a visit from Smokey Bear, face-painting and a free bouncy house, the city will also play host to a mud-filled obstacle course designed for fun and some dirty competition.

The sandpit crawl, mud-pit crawl, wall obstacle, zig-zag run, cargo-net climb and tire section of the Mud Run course will provide challenges and plenty of amusement. Minimum age for the Mud Run is 10. All proceeds go to benefit the Hailey Tree Committee.

Recreational teams will compete from 12:30-2 p.m. with competitive teams starting immediately after.

Tree Committee Chair Bill Josey came up with the Mud Run plan after some inclement weather in years past.

"This is definitely an all-weather event," he said. "We hope ArborFest becomes Hailey's signature spring event, bringing the community together for some fun, education and competition no matter what the weather brings. It's a celebration of earth, trees, community and art. It's a celebration of spring."

Josey said the Mud Honeys women's bike team will oversee the mud pit. Power House restaurant owner Billy Olson will be the announcer.

"Watch out for Mud Honeys on the course," warned Josey. "Some are friendly and some are foes."

Arbor Fest will also include live music by Tom Archie and a "flash mob" scene organized by R.L. Rowsey at 12:15 p.m. with members of the Wood River High School band.

The city of Hailey celebrates Arbor Day each spring to retain its Tree City USA status, bringing expert arborists together with residents to learn more about tree planting and the importance of trees in the community.

The day kicks off at 10 a.m. with "Right Tree, Right Place," a lecture presented by arborist Craig Westling. The morning will also feature a giveaway of tree seedlings and "Ask an Arborist" lessons in tree care.

At noon, Mayor Fritz Haemmerle will issue the "Arbor Day Proclamation," which harkens back to the first Arbor Day celebrated in 1872.

Through the efforts of newspaper editor J. Sterling Morton, who later served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, more than a million trees were planted in Nebraska during the first Arbor Day.

For more information about Hailey's ArborFest, call 788-3484.

Tony Evans:

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