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Monday July 11th, 2011

Posted at 10:30am

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EYC members and staff unload beach balls from their parade float in preparation of Running of the Balls. (All photos by: Jeannette Catherine)

After weeks of preparation, one local organization’s summer fundraiser went by with a kick.

On Friday, July 7, Essex Youth Centre (EYC) members were inflating beach balls at their Essex High School basement facility. Between the humming of an air compresser, chatter continued about numbering balls and moving them up three flights of stairs to be put in a float for the Essex Funfest parade. By 12:30 p.m. the next day, all involved were trying to figure out how to unload 1,000 at the festival.

All inflated beach balls are stuffed behind the batting cages gate.

Each ball had a number on it that corresponded to a ticket sold for the fundraiser.

It all related to EYC’s fourth-annual Running Of The Balls, the centre’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The event itself took place on July 9 at Essex Funfest, following the parade at 1 p.m. Kicking the balls towards a finish line, several children and Essex Mayor Ron McDermott were on hand to help with the task.

Having sold tickets with numbers corresponding to 1,000 beach balls at the event, youths were busy in the preceeding weeks. Many Essex businesses such as CIBC and Source For Sports were accommodating and helped the youth centre raise money. A sponsorship by Insight Enterprises also made the event possible.

With gates opening, beach balls and volunteers kicking them are released.

EYC members, kids and Essex mayor Ron McDermott begin kicking the balls to the goal.

The first ball across belong to Stacey Anderson and won her $500. Susan Renaud, Joanne Campbell, Scott Miller, John Campbell andKim Bailey also won $100 each for having numbers on the following five.

Money raised at this fundraiser is enough to pay for a month’s worth of EYC’s operating costs. For more information about the youth centre and its programs, those interested can call 519-776-9000.

Children kick the balls through the sharks mouth, producing some Running Of The Balls winners.

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