With unseasonably warm weather Dec. 12, the only snowflakes fluttering to the ground during the Wrightsville Beach Museum’s annual Jingle Bell Run 5K were the decorative kind used by team named Snowflake Ladies to create their prize-winning costumes.
Most of the 514 Jingle Bell Run participants wore holiday outfits, but the Snowflake Ladies created elaborate tutu costumes with sparkly adhesive snowflakes that started sliding off as they ran, leaving a glittering trail around the John Nesbitt Loop.
“They were melting,” team member Dawn Wallace said, laughing.
Many of the first racers to cross the finish line, like female winner Terra Jackson and male winner Ross Riar, opted for simple holiday attire like Santa hats or reindeer antlers. Soon, a correlation became apparent between order of finish and extravagance of costume.
Snowflake Ladies team member Brenda Swartz said she and her friends worked on their costumes for three weeks over dinner parties. Several of them had never entered the Jingle Bell Run before and one team member, Emily Morgan, had never entered any 5K.
“And the majority of us are in the over-50 age bracket!” team captain Kathy Parker added.
While the Snowflake Ladies won a team costume prize, the individual costume prize was given to Wrightsville Beach resident Rhea Cooper for dressing up as a golden Christmas star. Patrick Argo won best pet costume for donning reindeer antlers and pulling his yellow Labrador, dressed in a Santa hat, in a wagon decorated as a sleigh.
A 19-person team from MCS Noble Middle School won best overall team costume for the fifth time in six years. Last year, after helping create 16 Elves on Shelves costumes, team captain Camille McKeon told her daughter, “We are never doing this again.”
But her daughter already had another theme in mind: The 12 Days of Christmas. They didn’t have enough people to represent all the various gifts listed in the lyrics, McKeon realized, “So we decided I would make a bunch of fake people. And birds.”
It took McKeon one month to create the props for the Noble Middle School faculty and staff to carry while they ran — or in this case, walked. They weren’t the fastest around the loop, but eventually the lords, ladies, maids milking, French hens and turtle doves crossed the finish line led by former Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti, carrying a stuffed partridge in a pear tree.