Local East Elementary’s Shamrock Shuffle takes off at 8 a.m. Saturday | CullmanSense

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East Elementary’s Shamrock Shuffle takes off at 8 a.m. Saturday

East Elementary School Principal David Wiggins is excited for Saturday morning’s second annual Shamrock Shuffle. The run starts at 8 a.m. at the school. / Nick Griffin

CULLMAN - The second annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K/ 1-Mile Color Run is upon us and it will get started at East Elementary Saturday morning at 8. The East Elementary School PTO sponsors the event, which is meant to bring members of the community together to have fun and promote an active lifestyle, as well as raise funds for the school.

This year’s proceeds will be directed toward East Elementary technology according to EES Principal David Wiggins. Wiggins is excited for the chance to keep building on existing tech as well as investing in new equipment.

“When I started here 12 years ago we were fortunate enough to invest in Smartboard technology, interactive white boards, but as you can imagine, after 12 years those are very outdated,” said Wiggins. “So, we have been systematically, as a school and a school system, replacing those antiquated Smartboards with new Smart panels and right now we are about nine short from having everybody in the school a new Smart panel, and when I say everybody I mean every classroom.”

Last year’s run was put on to raise money for new playground equipment for the students, and while this year’s focus is technology, Wiggins and the PTO may still have some plans in place for more playground upgrades.

“Every penny of the proceeds from our monthly Spirit Night events and of course this will go towards technology. We do have plans to continue our playground expansion. PTO’s focus last year between the cookie dough fundraiser and Shamrock Shuffle was to offer new equipment. They removed broken pieces of equipment, old pieces of equipment and unsafe pieces of equipment, and have put in some new really fantastic equipment for our kids,” Wiggins shared. “So, we may go that direction as well, but every penny goes right back into the school for our students.”

The run is a fundraiser for East Elementary first and foremost, but Wiggins doesn’t want that to make anyone feel unwelcome. Wiggins even gave an example of some of the more colorful participants who showed up from out of town for last year’s event.

“This is to benefit East Elementary, but just like our movie night, we call it a community event. We are a small-town neighborhood school, we’re a community school, so we want anybody who wants to come be a part of this. It’s not about if you go to East you can come run. This is anybody that wants to,” he smiled. “Last year we had a couple of ladies that came in full outfits. They had green and white tutus and beads and antennae with shamrocks on top of them, headbands, painted their faces and they were from north Alabama, they weren’t from here and they’re coming back so I can’t wait to see what they’re goofing off with this year.”

The 5K run will feature a timer this year to allow finishing runners to see their times, but Wiggins reiterated that everyone is welcome regardless of whether they want to walk, run, ride or push a stroller through Cullman’s historic neighborhoods behind the school.

“The 5K is the hot ticket this year. Last year was just a fun run 5K, but this year we’re doing times, and everybody can see their time when they go through. Next year we’re looking at doing places so it’s an evolving event at East Elementary. It would be our dream to have this become a staple in our community and a staple in the world of runners. The 1-mile is a fun run/walk but hey, bring a bicycle, bring your child in a stroller, bring your pets, we want people to have fun.”

The starting gun for both the 1-mile fun run and the newly timed 5K run will be at 8 a.m. Saturday. Even if runners are competing and tracking their times, the priority is coming together and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a fun and active way together.

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