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Smiles Across Pahrump will give you a reason to grin

If readers need a reason to smile this weekend, head on over to Smiles Across Pahrump, where there will be plenty of opportunities for grinning as the local Moose Lodge hosts this annual free family event.

“This event was started by Butch Harper, otherwise known as ‘Patches’, in 2010 to encourage family interaction away from electronic devices and the television, to get the kids outside and having fun with other people one-on-one versus through digital technology,” Pahrump Moose member and event organizer Chanda Wieland explained of the event’s beginnings.

Harper passed away in 2015 but Smiles Across Pahrump continues to live on. The Moose Lodge has been leading the effort to keep it going for the last several years and Wieland said the entire event committee is excited to see it return once again.

“This is a free event encouraging family interaction and engagement,” Wieland told the Pahrump Valley Times. “So we will have a variety of mini-carnival skill-type games for prizes and of course, bikes will be given away! And people sometimes ask, why bicycles? Bicycles are so important in getting kids off the sofa and getting them outdoors. They’re a form of exercise, they’re a form of transportation to be able to ride to school or a friend’s house, they’re an extension of freedom and independence in a kid’s life.

“So keeping with Butch’s theme, we continue the tradition where kids are encouraged to write a short essay, or for younger kids, to draw a picture of what a smile means to them. They can bring it to the event between 10 a.m. and noon to receive a ticket for a chance to win a bike!” Wieland continued. “We also have three big totes full of other prizes, from keychains to plushies, some of popular characters kids are sure to recognize. This year we will have face painting as well and, in keeping with tradition, we will be providing free food too.”

The menu is set to include hotdogs, a variety of chips and even some fresh fruit, along with lots of bottled water for hydration during the activities.

As of June 16, Wieland said the event committee has been able to collect over 20 bicycles for Smiles Across Pahrump, with a few more potentially on the way, but the group would love to have even more bikes and any other fun prizes to give away.

“We’re probably best known for the bikes we give away, but we also like to have donations of family board games so when the kids leave our event, they can go home and interact as a family playing board games, to keep that energy going,” Wieland added.

With everything at Smiles Across Pahrump 100% free to attendees, the cost to put on such an event can rise into the thousands of dollars, which is why sponsors are so important. And of course, the manpower it takes is no small amount either, so volunteers are just as key, Wieland noted.

“We are always grateful when individuals, businesses and organizations are interested in sponsoring or volunteering,” Wieland said. “This year, we are working with groups like the Elks, Rotary, Lions Club and Pahrump Rough Riders as well as many generous individual and corporate sponsors like Saitta Trudeau, Parashant, LLC and Karen Jackson of KNYE Radio. Anyone interested in getting involved, please reach out! Even if you miss this year’s event, you can always sponsor next year’s because this is an annual event we’ll keep doing every year. We look forward to seeing everyone there. It’s going to be an amazing event.”

Smiles Across Pahrump will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 at the Pahrump Moose Lodge, 1100 Second Street.

For more information on sponsoring or volunteering contact Wieland at 616-902-0629.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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