Middletown’s book-themed shopping cart race raises money for literacy

Middletown businesses and professional groups had a chance to “book around town” Saturday in an event that provided exercise, a tour of downtown businesses and fun to raise money for a literacy program.

The second Middletown Kiwanis shopping cart challenge kicked off with eight teams decorating shopping carts from Needlers Fresh Market to coordinate with a children’s book title. Then the eight teams raced to 15 locations in downtown businesses completing fun tasks and games at each site, according to Henrietta Nye, Kiwanis president.

About $1,000 was raised for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which sends children from zero to 5 years old a book a month.

Nye said the idea for the event came when she was visiting Chicago and saw a group wearing pink tutus racing with a shopping cart in an event.

“I thought, ‘What in the world is that?’” Nye said.

When she learned more it, sounded like a good fit for Middletown.

Saturday’s event took place within the city’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area district with a spotlight on downtown businesses. Events at each location were light-hearted and in some cases challenging.

At West Central Wine, participants threw rings around wine bottles and at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop they were challenged to move jelly beans with straws, among other games elsewhere.

“It was a chance to be very silly for a good cause,” Nye said.

Final judges of the carts at the completion of the race were Middletown Police Chief David Birk and Fire Chief Paul Lolli.

The winning team was from Butler County Head Start with a Dr. Seuss book theme.

Nye said the Kiwanis club plans to make it an annual event.

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