Put that ego on the shelf, boys



July 6, 2011 - 12:00 AM

If you’ve got enough of it, Friday night is the night to let your hair down.
One sure test is to participate in the “Drag Race” as a runup to the Charlie Melvin Mad Bomber Run For Your Life race.
Men and women alike are encouraged to dress in a cross-gender manner and then “compete” in teams of four in a relay. Last year a woman’s garter was transferred from one participant’s leg to another.
“It’s better than a baton,” said David Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County and one of the organizers for Friday’s events.
If you don’t have a thing to wear — no worries.
Dresses, hats, purses, jewelry and other accoutrements will be available at Elizabeth Donnelly’s The Shirt Shop, 20 W. Jackson, where participants will have a wide selection from which to choose. Doors open at 10 p.m.
Registration to participate in the drag race is $5. That also gains participants entrance to a 9:30 p.m. pre-party at the Thrive office, 12 W. Jackson. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Thrive office or Friday night on the square.
The actual race begins at 10:30 p.m. in front of Ulrich Furniture between Jackson and West Streets on the square.
A picture of all participants will be taken at 11 p.m. on the steps of the post office.
“You don’t have to be a jock to participate,” said Toland. For each team, one member will be designated its “Golden Girl or Guy” and serves as the team’s cheerleader.
Bleachers will be set up for spectators.
“It’s a hoot for the crowd to see,” said Toland.
Last year’s race had 32 participants.
“We’re prepared for 50,” for this year’s race, he said.

AS A PRELUDE to the race, the “Brass Boomers” will perform four period pieces at 8 p.m. at the bandstand on the square. About a dozen members from Iola Municipal Band comprise the group.
Following the band will be “4 Days Quartet,” performing a number of songs. Vocalists are Ken and Jim Gilpin, Dan Johnson and Jim Rausch.
Local historian Clyde Toland will follow the musical pieces with his telling of the story of Charley Melvin the Mad Bomber.
At 9 p.m. rides in a hot air balloon for $10 apiece will be available at the intersection of Washington and Jackson avenues.