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Annual Jingle Bell Run rings in the holiday spirit for a good cause

The festive sound of jingling bells and the sight of holiday-clad runners will fill the air at Fawick Park in Downtown Sioux Falls on Friday, Nov. 24 as the city hosts the Jingle Bell Run, a beloved event organized by 2021 Tea Area High School graduate Taylor Van Emmerik. Now in its 15th year, the run promises a joyous blend of holiday cheer, fitness, and philanthropy.

Van Emmerik, who has been spearheading the event for three years, shared insights into the meticulous planning required to make the Jingle Bell Run a success and the joy it instills in being able to give back to something that is close to his heart. 

“Planning an event like this takes the work of many people coming together for a common good. I currently lead a committee of about six people who work together to plan this event. Each person is in charge of different aspects of the event like social media, route, registration, etc. This allows each of us to really dig into our areas and make sure the event can run as smoothly as possible. This year I mainly worked on sponsorships, marketing, and personal relations. My work is important to building the run for future events, so that the Sioux Falls Jingle Bell Run can continue to thrive in Sioux Falls,” said Van Emmerik. “I find planning the Jingle Bell Run very rewarding as it allows me to give back to an organization that did a lot for me growing up. I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis when I was nine years old. Now as a sophomore at the University of South Dakota studying political science and economics, it’s easy for me to see the difference the Arthritis Foundation made in my life. I have friends I can talk to about my disease, I have tips and tricks to help me manage my pain, and I have gained leadership skills from being involved in different events like the Jingle Bell Run and Art for Arthritis,” Van Emmerik added.  

The event aims to benefit the South Dakota Arthritis Foundation, supporting research for a cure, providing resources to manage pain, and fostering a sense of community among the 150,000 South Dakotans grappling with arthritis.

Van Emmerik outlined the challenging aspects of organizing the Jingle Bell Run, stating, “The most challenging aspect of planning the Jingle Bell Run is figuring out how to handle all the different issues that arise in the last two weeks before the run. Every year, without missing a beat, something will jump out and need to be fixed for a fully operational run, and sometimes it can feel like a circus trying to fix it.”

The Jingle Bell Run will be held Nov. 24 at Fawick Park in Downtown Sioux Falls. The schedule will run as follows: 4pm - Dance Party with Good Times Entertainment, 5pm - Program Starts, 5:30pm - Race Starts, and 7:30pm - Downtown Sioux Falls Parade of Lights Starts. Registration is available at until Nov. 21st and at 605 Running Company on the day of the event. Early registration is encouraged, as the fee increases on race day.

Van Emmerik shared some additional details, stating, “This year we decided to move the run back to Black Friday to allow people the chance to also celebrate the Parade of Lights with the event. It will be a fun time for all as we get dressed up in our favorite holiday gear and ‘Jingle For A Cure!’”

Over 60 million adults and 300,000 kids in the United States suffer from arthritis, making it the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Jingle Bell Run stands as a festive testament to the community’s commitment to raising awareness and funds for those battling arthritis.


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