The event – which could attract as many as 500 people — along the Silver Comet Trail and at the trail’s Leggett Park trailhead on Seaboard Avenue in Hiram is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. It will include the March Against Meth; 5K and 10K runs; a “Paws Against Meth” dog contest; and a festival featuring games and food vendors, said Linda Verscharen, executive director of the Family Alliance of Paulding County.
“We’re trying to create more of a family event,” she said.
Verscharen and Dee Morris originated the event in 2007 “as a way to bring attention” to what was then known as the Meth Alliance – a grassroots group they helped form the previous year in response to the rapid increase in methamphetamine use in the county. The Alliance added the 5K and 10K races in later years.
This year’s march will feature speakers about the dangers of drug abuse and the American Legion Riders Post 111, a group of military veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts who will conclude a ride of their own with a donation to the Alliance at the trailhead, Verscharen said.
The three-mile march will begin at 7:15 p.m. and run along the streets of Hiram in the first half and the Silver Comet Trail the remainder, Verscharen said.
Registration for the 5K and 10K races will begin at 5 p.m. and the races begin at 7 p.m. It is part of the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix series and can be used as a prequalifer for the annual July 4 Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. A 5K race is about 3.1 miles.
The Paws Against Meth contests will begin at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, the festival part of the event will operate from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and feature a bounce house, games, face painting, a 70-foot obstacle course and a dunk tank, as well as food vendors, crafts and three hours of live entertainment, she said.
Participants wanted this year’s March Against Meth to be in a more visible location than its regular Saturday morning jaunt along the Silver Comet, Verscharen said.
“We heard them,” she said. “They wanted something more than just the trail.”