Get Your Balls Up

I’m convinced that walking through Sunset Hills at Christmastime is the most magical thing you’ll ever do in Greensboro. There’s something about the multi-colored glow of the lighted Christmas balls that are hung throughout the trees that creates a warmth throughout the night, making you feel safe and happy, and most of all, filled with the holiday spirit.
I’m not the only one who feels this way—in 2011, Nick Loflin noticed a lot of traffic filling the neighborhood once the lighted balls went up and decided to seize the opportunity to raise money for charity. When he approached the Smith family (the pioneers of the Sunset Hills lighted Christmas balls), he remembers being nervous, but he went for it. To his happy surprise, they agreed that a 5k would be a great idea. I’m sure that back then, they had no idea what an amazing impact the race would make on our community: Since its inception, the race has helped provide over a million meals through The Second Harvest Food Bank, since all of the race sponsorship proceeds benefit the organization, which serves Northwestern North Carolina.

This year will be the sixth year that the race has taken place in the neighborhood, and it’s the third-largest race in Greensboro. Loflin recalls not even expecting a thousand people to show up that first year—he was shocked when the floodgates seemed to open up. To give you an idea of the current attendance rate, last year there were around 4,000 registered participants, and there have been about 20,000 attendees since 2012. Folks dress up in crazy costumes and marvel at the beautiful wonderland the neighborhood has created. The event has come to include five music locations throughout the course, carolers and hot chocolate and cookies for each attendant. (Sounds like our kind of race!)

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