Second Gran Fondo Sunday
By Cheyenne Little
The Sierra Schools Foundation’s second annual Sierra Valley Gran Fondo will take place here in the Sierra Valley on Sunday.
The Gran Fondo is a cycling race; however, it has evolved into something more. At the Loyalton City Park an Expo of live music, bounce houses, face painting, petting zoo and fun for the entire family will be available. Vendors will also be coming to sell various crafts and foods, including the Loyalton Rotary Club.
Expo organizer Janet McHenry, who is a board member for the Sierra Schools Founation, said that the Expo was named the Fall Family Festival this year, because the foundation also hopes that the community will come out and celebrate the fall season and welcome the cyclists, who are coming from all parts of the West Coast for the cyling event.
One important fundraiser at the Expo will specifically benefit Loyalton High’s Future Farmers of America chapter – a horseshoe tournament. Signups for the contest are at 10 a.m., with the tournament starting at 11 a.m. FFA will net $10 from each entry. Winners will share the remaining money from entry fees.
This Gran Fondo event is not just a fun time; its purpose is to raise money for the Sierra Schools Foundation, a group that helps support the public schools of Sierra County and the Sierra-Plumas Unified School District (SPJUSD). Due to SPJUSD’s rural location and lack of local economic resources, the Sierra Schools Foundation has three yearly fundraisers to help the schools. The other fundraisers are the Wellness Day and a golf tournament.
The cycling event makes money in various ways: vendors who pay to have a spot to sell their items, cyclists who pay to participate in the race and sponsors who donate money to the cause.
There are four races in which one can partake: the Piccolo Fondo, 33 miles, $50; the Medio Fondo, 66 miles, $65; the Gran Fondo, 96 miles, $100; and the Mega Fondo, 160 miles, $120.
This event does not make itself. Many people have been hard at work for many months getting things together to make this the best event yet. One such person is senior Bella Campbell, who has been eagerly trying to get student volunteers to help out with all types of jobs. Volunteers are needed to set up, take down, direct traffic, do food prep, distribute food to racers and much more. Campbell said, ”It’s not too late to volunteer; just show up and participate in the fun.”
The goal is to have 300 racers; however, 100 to 200 are expected. The Sierra Schools Foundation’s board members are optimistic especially since better weather than last year’s event is expected.