March of Dimes will move to Mall of America this year

March to the Twin Cities

The March of Dimes will move to the Mall of America in the Twin Cities this year.

The event, which will take place on April 25, will move to the MOA this year instead of holding smaller events in different counties across the state as it’s done in previous years.

March of Dimes State Director for the Minnesota Chapter Cheryl Pray said organizers have combined nine March for Babies events, including events in the Twin Cities and Southern Minnesota, to gather at the MOA.

“For a celebration for all of the advances made by the March of Dimes,” she said. “It’s really an opportunity to come together under one roof for one cause with many, many people supporting the same cause.”

Pray said the organization is also looking for ways to be fiscally responsible for the budget, and since the MOA donated the space, tables and items to set up the event, this was a good time to try doing it another way. She also said the venue provided more possibility for family fun, with Nickelodeon cartoon characters, the amusement park, a family movie and more.

“This venue provides an opportunity for a really fun family celebration,” she said.

Pray said the organization hopes to continue at the MOA if this year’s event goes smoothly, and so far it’s proving to organizers to be good.

“We’ve had an incredible response from people, and we’re excited about bringing all of the community together,” Pray said. “It’s exciting to see thousands of people walking together under one roof for one cause.”

Though the new venue is exciting, it does present a problem for some who can’t travel the distance. Former event walker, media chair and local chair committee Lisa Morehouse said she has heard both good and bad about the move.

“It’s hard to get people involved locally when they’re not seeing any of it stay local, and that’s unfortunate,” Morehouse said. “But I think they’re also going to raise a lot of funds and awareness by moving it to the mall.”

Morehouse couldn’t make it to this year’s event, but she hopes to make it next year.

Walkers taking part in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies cross Fourth Street NW last year. Herald file photoEric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Walkers taking part in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies cross Fourth Street NW last year. Herald file photoEric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“If I’m able to yeah I would definitely be up there again,” she said.

Randy Kramer, who has worked with the March of Dimes event in Austin for many years, said it feels a bit different since the event has moved to the Twin Cities, but he is still confident people will attend and support the organization.

“It’s definitely a change but obviously there’s still a good cause behind it all,” he said.

The goal for this year’s walk at the MOA is $1 million. Pray said previous years have raised about $1.5 million across the state. There are walks taking place across 48 chapters across the country, she said.

“We just really appreciate the people in [the] community reaching out and joining us,” she said. “We look forward to having people join us at the walk.”

Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the walk starts at 8 a.m. Participants can enter the MOA through the east ramp on level one or two and find the registration table. The walk will go until 10 a.m., but there will be events throughout the day such as a teddy-bear clinic and a family-friendly movie. Stores will also be donating coupons for the day, with proceeds going to the March of Dimes. For more information or to register, visit marchforbabies.org or www.marchofdimes.org/giving/support-general.aspx.

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