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How the Tacky Light Run became this Chesterfield woman's favorite day of the year

Posted at 7:56 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 19:56:21-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Runners and walkers alike will don Christmas apparel on Saturday night for the Carmax Tacky Light Run.

Kate Ray and her family are a big part of the tacky light run as it enters its tenth year.

"We moved to the neighborhood about eight years ago and the first year we moved here, the race did not come down the street. But when they rerouted the race, I took it to a whole new level and started decorating like crazy," Ray said.

Part of the charm of Ray's home is that most everything is handmade.

"I make all the wooden cutouts and all of these PVC trees and the snowflakes are things that I've made," Ray said.

Many of the cutouts reflect a Disney theme and there's a good reason for that.

"I have two daughters and they love Disney. So I started out with princesses because they loved it and it just expanded," Ray said.

Although she's not a professional artist, this is Ray's gift to the community.

"I love all the costumes and festivity, I love the different ages and I love it when people come into my yard and take pictures with all my cutouts and it's just Christmas joy at its finest," Ray said.

The theme for this year's run is A Winter Wonderland and the event will be held in the Walton Park subdivision.

"I think if you have ever been to Walton Park, it's a very special neighborhood. I feel like almost every house in this neighborhood on event night is decorated," Nan Callahan, Sports Backers' communication manager, said.

The run kicked off a decade ago thanks to Sports Backers' executive director John Lugbill's love of the tacky light tours.

"And that's just such a unique thing in our community, that we started wondering, wouldn't the best way to see tacky lights be on foot and a race? So we started kind of looking around and trying to see what courses to kind of fit that mold. And luckily, we found Walton Park," Callahan said. "Tacky sweaters, costumes, runners and walkers are all welcomed."

The tacky light run will kick off on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the startling line at Midlothian Mines. There will also be shuttles which will start running as early as 4 p.m. Parking is available at Brightpoint University

"It is, I think, the fun is contagious. When you're out here, it's kind of impossible to not think that you're gonna have a great time. So we set up, we throw a part in our driveway every year. It's my favorite day of the year," Ray said.