The rainy, cold weather did not dampen the spirits of participants running the Winterfest Half K — beer in hand — Saturday in downtown Longview.

The Winterfest Half K is a one city block “dash” to the finish benefiting Education By Design. Organizer Cole Tomberlain said it’s an everyman’s running/walking event.

“We were wanting something that no one had done before,” he said.

Not everyone can do a 5K, 10K, half marathon or a marathon for charity, he added.

“The whole thing is very tongue in cheek, and we thought that it could help bring some awareness to our cause and set us apart from other fundraisers,” Tomberlain said.

“First Aid” and “hydration” stations were set up along the route with mini mimosas and martinis. Everyone received a participation certificate and could take a picture on the handmade podium.

Oil Horse Brewing Company served as the home base for the event.

Participants mixed wearing comfortable clothes with some organizers wearing holiday themed costumes and sweaters. A smoking and bourbon station was set up at an Airstream travel trailer, as well.

DJ Hazbro provided music for the event.

Education By Design is an after-school and summer program for students in grades two through 11 who need assistance and support to set goals, reach those goals and go beyond.

Valerie Baxter of Pine Tree ISD is on the board for Education By Design and helped set up Saturday’s fundraiser.

“I have the same passion,” she said. “I believe in what they’re doing.”

She said the organization is all about servicing children. The activities and lessons in the program are designed to encourage learning and help develop leadership skills.

“We were hoping for a better turnout, but people are having fun, and it’s a great event,” Baxter said.

Though the rain and cold may have hurt participation, the group was lively and eager to come back next year.

“This is awesome,” Maria Mills said. “I got 10 of my friends and family to do it. Next year, I’ll promote it.”

She said she stumbled upon the event on Facebook and can’t wait to do it again.

After the run, participants ordered food from Street Licious, stopped for wine at Books and Barrels, grabbed a pint from Oil Horse and headed over to Lumberjacks Axe Throwing.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.