The Heber Half Run for Autism

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Heber Half Run for Autism includes a half marathon, a 5k and a half mile All Abilities run. The race takes place on a downhill slope through the gorgeous Heber Valley. Finish line festivities include bounce houses, food trucks and the legendary Heber Half blue foam party. The race will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2019 in Heber City, Utah.

When you’re racing in the Heber Half Run for Autism, you’re racing for a cause. Benefiting Kids On the Move’s Autism Center, this race is one that leaves its runners feeling motivated and inspired.

Although last year was the first inaugural Heber Half, almost 1200 runners participated, along with their family and friends who came to show support. People came from all over Utah to be a part of this special event, with even 100 runners traveling from out of state. The number of participants is expected to grow to 2500 runners for 2019’s race.

Proceeds will go toward serving children and adolescents ages 18-months and older in the Kids On the Move (KOTM) Autism Center. The Autism Center provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to help children with autism reach their full potential.

Autism is extremely prevalent in Utah, where one in every 58 children is affected by this diagnosis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Utah has the second highest rate of autism nationwide. The Heber Half was designed to bring community members together to support a cause that is extremely widespread and close to the hearts of many Utahans.

One of the KOTM Autism Center’s clients, Addison, looked like any other child on the outside, but had difficulty in social environments. She experienced debilitating anxiety so badly that it would cause her to vomit or accidentally hurt herself.

“We felt like prisoners in our own home,” said Addison’s mother, Mary Howell. “We couldn’t go to family functions, the grocery store, church or even the park.”

After only nine months of therapy at KOTM, Addison is now able to go to most public places and family events. She has even started interacting with new people and making friends, something her parents weren’t sure she could ever do.

The Heber Half is an event that brings together community members in love and support for children like Addison. This is the first official race in Utah to solely address the cause of autism. To sign up for the 2019 race, runners and volunteers can visit www.heberhalf.com to register.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.