FAIRMONT - An event that has become a rite of passage for children in Fairmont gets a little extra boost this year.
Fairmont Medical Center has partnered with Fairmont Police for the Early Risers Kiwanis annual bike safety rally, going on from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church, located at 300 South Grant Street.
According to Fairmont's School Resource Officer Jaime Bleess, the partnership is a win-win situation: "It's a neat thing because they have the money to advertise it, and statewide (Mayo Health Systems) has been providing helmets at the cost of $8, and that's something we've been wanting to do for years."
Along with the opportunity to purchase a safety helmet, there are bike inspections and courses where kids can practice the rules of the road when on a bicycle.
The event is being held at Grace Lutheran Church this year, due to the construction at Five Lakes Elementary and the preparations being made to tear down Budd School.
"We had a bike rally at Grace Lutheran last fall too, and they were very helpful," Bleess said. "It's a good set-up there in their parking lot, and it's also a good combination of the community people coming together to help.
"We have different groups now getting the word out ... But we are very grateful for the Early Risers Kiwanis, because without them, this wouldn't have gotten started and it wouldn't be happening."
The church members will also be providing snacks such as popcorn and snow-cones at the event.
The event is open to students from preschool age to sixth grade.
"It's an event where the bigger students aren't going to be feeling like they're too old for this, yet it's also not confusing for the little ones," Bleess said.
In case of rain or other bad weather, the event will be moved into the Fellowship hall portion of the church.
"We really encourage both kids and parents to come out and participate," Bleess said.