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The eighth annual Lonsdale Crawl is approaching Oct. 17 through 19 this year. This group made its way downtown to get as many passport stamps as possible during the Lonsdale Crawl in 2018. Pictured from left: Heather Lerfald, Avery Lerfald, Becca Pexa, Stacie Karkhoff, Amy Liebelt, Mindi Raleigh, Katie Mann and Sara Grogg. (News Review file photo)

As September comes to a close, Lonsdale Crawl director and founder Devin Reyes is preparing to hang fliers throughout the town to get the community thinking pink.

The Lonsdale Crawl serves a threefold purpose of bringing the community together, promoting local businesses and putting a stop to cancer. Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Reyes said the Lonsdale Crawl seeks to draw awareness to all cancer types.

Reyes estimates between 500 and 1,000 people participate in the Lonsdale Crawl annually, based on the number of business vendors and the passport count.

“We want people to come and know this is all completely volunteer,” said Reyes. “The people who are on the Crawl Crew — not a large group — work full time, they’re active in school districts on different committees. We continue to try to bring more options to Lonsdale to support each other.”

The crawl kicks off Thursday, Oct. 17 with the annual Passport Around Town and concludes Saturday, Oct. 19 with the 5K Crawl, Walk, Run Against Cancer. But in between these two events is the new addition: a spaghetti feed dinner from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at the Lonsdale American Legion. The dinner also includes a performance from 6 to 10 p.m. by the Dakota Ramblers Band. Pre-sale tickets will be available in the weeks leading up to the dinner.

“We’re so excited to be able to partner with [the Legion] and the band,” said Reyes. “It’s another reason to enjoy the crawl.”

About 20 businesses and vendors have already committed to the Passport Around Town outing, including Teal Magnolia for the first time. From 4 to 7:30 p.m., community members, often decked out in pink, canvass the town to collect “passport” stamps, participate in games and activities, and learn more about what Lonsdale has to offer. Participating businesses develop creative ways to promote the fight against cancer as well as their own products and services, whether it’s with interactive games, drawings, tutorials or samples.

“We don’t tell them how to do things,” said Reyes. “ … We’re here to lift them up, and it’s up to them how they want to be remembered by those people.”

As every year, the Passport Around Town event happens in conjunction with a silent auction. But while the Whistle Stop Tavern and Grill was the designated spot for the auction the first seven years of the crawl, Reyes said the event’s attendance and donated items has exceeded the building’s capacity. For that reason, the silent auction portion of the crawl has relocated to the Lonsdale American Legion. From 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17, the Legion becomes the hot spot for professional photographers, games, a happy hour and more.

The Crawl Crew continues to accept donations for silent auction items and baskets, and any businesses wanting to participate should contact Reyes as soon as possible at thelonsdalecrawl@gmail.com.

The Whistle Stop offers its space later in the evening for the Wrap-up for Awareness portion of the event. From 7:30 to close, crawl participants can dance to or simply enjoy music from a live DJ, win prizes after filling out their passports, get more photos taken with a professional photographer and socialize with friends and family.

The Crawl concludes for the sixth year in a row 9 a.m. Oct. 19 with the annual 5K Crawl, Walk Run Against Cancer. Registration and check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Lonsdale American Legion, and the dedication walk precedes the 5K at 8:45 a.m., concluding at the starting lineup.

Reyes is holding out for nice weather this year, recalling times when wind, rain and sleet accompanied the dedication walk and 5K. But since part of the purpose for her is to consider the battles of cancer patients past and present, she feels it’s fitting to brave a bit of chilly weather.

Every year, proceeds of the Lonsdale Crawl benefit causes that directly impact those battling cancer. These include Priceless 4 Purpose, a resort getaway for patients seeking a quiet and relaxing trip, and region pediatric’s cancer board for youth. The Crawl Crew also earmarks funds for the Lonsdale Crawl Carebox, which residents may anonymously send to someone they know with cancer. Individuals may fill out a form to request a care box for someone online at bit.ly/2m5PHit. The Crawl Crew can’t guarantee all requests will be met.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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