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Forecast stymies weekend events

Friday, December 13, 2013


The Christmas Grinch must be forecasting the weather.

A 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday has caused organizers to cancel the Bassett Christmas Parade and move the Martinsville Speedway’s 17th annual Christmas Toy Drive from Saturday to Sunday.

But the Big Bird Toy Run, set for 1 p.m. Saturday, will go on rain or shine, according to Paige Holcomb, wife of Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb, who organizes the ride to benefit Christmas Cheer.

“Christmas isn’t going to wait on the weather,” Paige Holcomb said.

The run will begin at 1 p.m. at Big Bird’s Big Twins in Ridgeway and conclude at Sportlanes in Collinsville. Toys and monetary donations will go to Christmas Cheer, which provides food, toys and other assistance to the needy at Christmas.

Also still on tap Saturday is the Bassett Community Christmas Bazaar, to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the former Bassett train depot.

The bazaar will feature baked goods, greenery and Christmas gifts for sale. There will be music by Ken Lester and Walter Priddy at noon. Janet Ashby of Tuggle’s Farm Catering will have barbecue, and Grampy’s Dawgs will offer hot dogs for sale.

The speedway toy drive now is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Girls on the Run 5K race also has been moved to Sunday at the speedway with a 12:30 p.m. starting time.

The only change with the move is that Santa Claus had a prior commitment for Sunday and will not be able to make it to the track.

Action will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday when anyone donating $10 or a new toy can drive a personal vehicle around the historic track. Pace cars will lead the personal vehicles around the track.

Also at 1 p.m., fans will be able to take laps around the oval in a Sprint Cup car with speedway President Clay Campbell behind the wheel. They will be dressed in full racing gear, fire suit, helmet and HANS Device. Cost for the ride-along is a $50 donation to the toy drive.

The Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog will be prepared and sold by the Martinsville Speedway staff in the infield concession stand. Hot dogs and Pepsi products will cost $1 each, with proceeds going to purchase toys.

The Grace Network, comprised of more than 100 churches in the area, will handle the distribution of the toys. All toys will stay in the Martinsville and Henry County area.

Anyone who would like to donate a toy, but cannot make it to the toy drive, may do so at the Martinsville Speedway ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Monetary donations also can be dropped off at the ticket office. All checks should be made out to Grace Network. All monies raised will be used to buy additional toys.

For more information or questions, call 956-7200.

This would have been the 10th year of the Bassett Christmas Parade, and it is the first to be canceled, said Paul Kennedy of Bassett Funeral Service, a co-sponsor of the event.

“Our biggest thing is safety,” Kennedy said, referring to the threat of rain. “We do apologize.”

He and co-sponsor Shirley Amos of Shirley’s Floral Design in Bassett talked about moving the parade to Sunday but decided it would be hard to reach all the entries to reschedule.

“It would have been our best parade ever,” with the largest number of entries, said Amos.

Because other area localities held their parades earlier in the season, more entries had signed up for the Bassett parade, she said. That included a man from Roanoke who planned to have horses, a buggy and sleigh.

The Bassett parade also had been planned for a week earlier, but it was moved to Dec. 14 so the Bassett High School band could take part, Amos said.

“It’s heartbreaking. It was going to be such a good parade,” she said.

However, Kennedy added, “We look forward to next year.”


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