In a few days, bounce house inflatables will stake ground on a patch of grass inside Harrisburg Town Center, and Curly the Clown will stretch and blow colorful balloons into animal shapes for the young crowd gathered around him.
Then, at the appointed time, dozens of neighbors will shake hands and commence with the flinging of hundreds of square beanbags across the Town Hall’s front lawn.
It’s what’s become known as Bags in the Burg, an annual charity event organized by the Harrisburg Business Network and Harrisburg Parks & Recreation.
This year the festivities take place Sept. 26 inside the Harrisburg Town Center on Main Street. Crafters and business vendors, along with the children’s play area will open 10 a.m. The cornhole tournament begins 11 a.m.
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The idea for the local event came from Harrisburg resident David Knorr, who went to a cornhole tournament in Charlotte five years ago and liked what he saw.
“It was the first one I ever went to, with a couple of buddies from Charlotte at some bar,” said Knorr. “When I left I was like, ‘we can do that, and we can do that better.’”
Knorr, a mortgage banker in town, took the idea to Harrisburg Business Network, an organization for business people who either live in, work in or service Harrisburg.
Every year since, the group has organized the event, choosing one local charity each year to receive the funds raised.
“Every penny goes to charity,” said Knorr.
In 2011, 12 cornhole teams played in the inaugural tournament, raising close to $2,000 for a local child with cancer. Last year, 70 teams played and raised around $15,000 for the Harrisburg Crisis Assistance Ministry.
This year’s proceeds will go to Joyful Hearts, a Harrisburg-based nonprofit organization that provides resources for adults and children with special needs and their families. Besides support, respite and playgroups, the organization is most known for its signature event, a dance called the JoyProm.
Joyful Heart members will kick off Bags in the Burg with their own cornhole tournament at 9 a.m.
But it’s not only Joyful Hearts that will benefit from the charity. At 10 a.m., two-person teams from several Cabarrus County schools will face off for a schools-only tournament, with the winning school receiving a $1,000 prize.
The main tournament begins 11 a.m., and Knorr expects many of the teams from last year – A Fling and a Prayer; Blind Squirrels; Beards and Babes – to return.
Harrisburg Business Network partnered with Harrisburg Parks & Recreation last year, adding vendors, crafters and a children’s play area.
“We look at it as an opportunity for local businesses to get out there and be seen by the community,” said Shawn Marble, assistant parks and recreation manager. Last year, nearly 40 vendors signed on.
“Events like this bring the community together. They bring people to Harrisburg Town Center that may not have come,” said Marble. “It’s great for people in the community to see what Harrisburg has to offer, if they don’t already know.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to go?
2015 Bags in the Burg will be held 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 26 at Harrisburg Town Hall, 4100 Main St., Harrisburg. Registration is $75 per two-person team. Rain date is Oct. 3. For information, go to www.harrisburgnc.org/departments/parks-recreation/town-events/bags-burg-fall-market-main