For the first time ever, the annual Duette Fall Festival will include a 5K road race.
The old standby events — music, food, the silent and live auctions — are still planned for the Nov. 5 event at the former Duette Elementary School.
“The people will be open. People are going to be able to see the building,” said longtime event organizer Betty Glassburn.
This fall marked the first academic year students aren’t being housed in the one-classroom schoolhouse in the neighborhood. Longtime Principal Donna King decided to retire after the 2015-16 academic year and the Manatee County School District decided not to run the building as a schoolhouse anymore.
The district is retaining ownership and maintenance of the building, but has authorized Glassburn and those in the revived Duette Community Association to establish a museum space in the school’s library area. Proceeds from the fall festival and the spring Cracker Fest will help fund the museum.
“We are going to continue those two traditions,” she said.
The day will get off to an earlier start with the 5K race. Registration for the race is available online at Florida Road Race Management for $20 . Those who sign up online before Oct. 22 are guaranteed a shirt with their registration. The shirt has the outline of the schoolhouse on it. Registration at the event will cost $25 and does not guarantee a shirt.
Registration opens Nov. 5 at 7 a.m. and the race starts at 8. The course is on county-maintained dirt roads with no traffic.
After the race, runners will be able to get food immediately and the festival events officially get underway at 10. Organizers are still gathering more auction items, Glassburn said, but two of the bigger items already in are a fresh-water fishing excursion and a salt-water fishing excursion.
For more information about the events or to leave how to get involved, Glassburn can be reached at 941-742-8110.