Relay of Voices: The Great River Run, a four-month long cultural expedition from the headwaters to the mouth of the Mississippi River, will make a two-day stop in Ste. Genevieve this week.
Spearheaded by Victoria Bradford Styrbicki, an artist, dancer, athlete and storyteller, with the assistance of a support team as well as community-based volunteers, the Relay of Voices began on July 9 at the headwaters of the Mississippi near Itasca, Minnesota.
Bradford Styrbicki will be the primary athlete for the journey: cycling, running and even dancing the entire length of the river and conducting interviews along the way.
“Through the Relay of Voices: Great River Run, I wanted to embark on a mission to document communities and collect stories all along the Mississippi River, seeking out the common voice of home and rootedness and community connections,” she said. “In each town or city, we will ‘share the stories’ that we have gathered upstream and hopefully we will foster an increased sense of connectedness among the peoples along the way.”
Bradford Styrbicki and her team will be traveling more than 2,400 miles and will collaborate with 104 towns and cities along the way.
Some of the other communities the Relay will encounter before arriving in Ste. Genevieve include Hannibal, Clarksville, St. Charles in Missouri and Prairie du Rocher in Illinois. The relay is carried out as a ‘duathalon,’ with the athlete running at the start of the day, cycling the middle stretch [typically between 20 and 40 miles], and then switching back to running as they enter the next community. Bradford Styrbichi will be the primary runner and will be joined periodically by her husband Tom.
She is expected to cross the Mississippi River on the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry at approximately 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 5, and then run to Main Street Park where she will arrive at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The public is welcome to help greet Bradford Styrbicki at Main Street Park on Thursday and also to attend a free program at 6 p.m. on Friday September 6, at the Welcome Center, where she will share the story of her journey, “relaying the voices” from other communities they have passed through, and gathering more stories to be relayed farther down the river.
The relay team will follow the course of the Mississippi River from July through November 2019.
For more information or to make a contribution to support the Relay of Voices, contact the Welcome Center at 573-883-7097.
The 2019 Relay of Voices is sponsored by A House Unbuilt, a nonprofit corporation based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Chicago, Illinois, working in partnership with research institute the Water Institute of the Gulf, the Great River Road, the Mississippi River Network, and the Louisiana Seafood Promotions and Marketing Board.
For more information, visit relayofvoices.com.
(Information from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center.)