CARTHAGE, Ill. (WFEM) – Saturday will be a busy day in Carthage and residents and business owners say they can’t wait.

The day starts at 8:15 am with the five mile Strawberry leg which organizers said more than 170 people have already registered.

“The record is 229,” said Amy Graham, director of community development for Carthage. “We hope to see more people register tomorrow morning so we can beat this record.”

She said after the race ends around 10:30 a.m., the Hancock County Fights Cancer block party and Mississippi Rat Pack car show will start around noon and end at 5:00 p.m.

Graham said the events not only raise funds for good causes, they also attract visitors.

“For our retailers and economic development, this is huge because we will not only attract locals to these events, but we will also attract people from the tri-state area,” she said.

Local business owners said the events help spur growth across the community.

“It’ll probably make the whole town $ 100,000 more, so that’s really awesome,” said Tyrone Jacoby, owner of Ben Franklin Crafts.

He said it was great news after last year wreaked havoc on his store.

“We were closed for six weeks and for a small town it hurt us, devastated us enough,” Jacoby said.

But he wasn’t the only business in Carthage to suffer when non-essential businesses were forced to shut down last year.

“Everything that wasn’t essential was closed, so many stores were closed for at least six weeks,” Jacoby said.

But with locks well in the rearview mirror, residents are ready to get back to their pre-pandemic lives.

“Everyone is extremely excited to come together and celebrate, not only for a good cause, but also just to see each other and be together,” Graham said.

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