MOUNTAIN IRON — Kids, adults — and runners and walkers — get your Halloween costumes ready.
Mountain Iron is celebrating the holiday with a weekend of events.
It will begin with the 12th annual Larry Nanti memorial 5K/10K Run/Walk — this year dubbed the “Pumpkin Run” — on Oct. 26.
The event is traditionally held during Mountain Iron’s Merritt Days celebration in August, which Nanti, a longtime city employee, was instrumental in founding. Merritt Days was canceled this summer — resuming next year — however, the Mountain Parks and Recreation Department still sought to honor Nanti by holding the walk/run.
The weekend will continue with the annual Mountain Iron Halloween Carnival, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.
It’s fitting to have both on the same weekend, said Mountain Iron Special Events Coordinator Anna Amundson.
Nanti, who served as the city’s Parks and Recreation director for 22 years, died from a debilitating illness in 2007. He was involved in planning many family events in the community, including the annual Easter egg hunt and the penny carnival, and he helped develop the Mountain Iron Recreation Complex in South Grove.
“He’s had a lasting impact on the city of Mountain Iron,” Amundson said. And he surely would be happy for the weekend of activities that encourage “people to get out as a family and do something.”
The Larry Nanti walk/run usually begins and ends at the Mountain Iron Public Library. But this year, the Mountain Iron-Buhl cross-country team, along with coaches and parents, will be the course marshals, so it will start and finish at the MI-B high school, she said.
Race proceeds will primarily benefit the MI-B cross-country program, along with the Mountain Iron Friends of the Library, said Amundson, who is also library director.
The team is having “a phenomenal season,” Amundson noted.
It has grown substantially in the last handful of years, going from five student athletes to about 23. “We are hoping to send a couple to state,” said Assistant MI-B Cross-Country Coach Louis Parenteau in a phone interview.
“We are excited to have the event at the school and to promote running in our community,” he added. “We are happy to help out. The kids are looking forward to it. And we are happy the community is supporting our cross-country program.”
The event will also be an opportunity for the public to see the trails that run through the MI-B School Forest, Amundson said. The trails, which the students use, are open to the public, said Parenteau, who is also co-coordinator of the forest.
Race participants are asked to “Pick Your Pain” — running or walking either the 5K or 10K roadway course.
The Range Runners club will assist with its “Race in Box” equipment, which includes chip timing that will provide “very accurate race times,” Amundson said.
Walkers will not be timed, but there will be awards for the top runners and top walkers, as well as for the best costumes in various age categories. Strollers are welcome.
The entry fee is $25 for ages 19 and older; $15 for 18 and younger, and includes a race T-shirt, bib, chip timers for runners and water.
Participants can register online at www.rangerunners.org. Registration will also be held from 8 to 8:45 a.m. on race day. Early packet pickup is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the MI-B high school commons.
The Pumpkin Run will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.
It’s a great opportunity “to get families out for the day,” Amundson said.
The same is true of the Halloween Carnival, set for noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Mountain Iron Community Center.
It will an afternoon filled with candy, costumes, games and prizes, she said.
Those wearing a costume will be admitted free, or attendees can get in with a donation for the Quad City Food Shelf.
MI-B student groups will help with the game stations, along with volunteers from the Northern Communities Credit Union in Virginia.
It’s an affordable event for families — 25 games for $5, Amundson said.
Bingo, sponsored by the Eveleth-Mountain Iron Lions Club, will run 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Messiah Lutheran Church will hold its coffee and bake sale and provide concessions.
“It will be a fun weekend in Mountain Iron — a good opportunity to come to Mountain Iron for two days,” Amundson said.