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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Large crowds took part in the 16th Annual Spring For Down Syndrome event June 10.
Mote than 600 UTVs took part in the Poker Run, while large crowds also flocked to the county fairgrounds, where the rest of the event took place.
Organizer Chip Marzuco had anticipated a larger turnout than usual, to show support following the death of his son, Andrew Marzuco during the winter. Andrew, 20, had been the inspiration for Marzuco launching the event in 2010.
This year the event moved from the Knights of Columbus Hall and yard on Market Street to the wide-open county fairgrounds.
“The fairgrounds venue worked out tremendously,” Marzuco said. “We couldn’t have done what we did if we wouldn’t have changed the venue. The upper parking lot was full of UTVs almost the whole time and there were so many people all over the fairgrounds that they would have overwhelmed the KC grounds.
“We were all scared to death that something wasn’t going to click.”
Click, it did, and the event expanded to take advantage of the increased room.
“We had so many people that participated, like Surdyke Yamaha, plus Pettus Ford brought vehicles up, and we had three or four venders showing off UTV stuff,” Marzuco said. “We wouldn’t have had room for any of that down at the KC grounds. Almost all the food tricks sold out of food.”
People came from all over to take part in the event.
“We had a prize for the person who traveled the farthest,” Marzuco said. “He was from Texas, nine and a half hours away. We had people from all over the place coming to Ste. Genevieve.
“It mind-boggled me. It was crazy how many UTVs and Jeeps we had.”
Once again, the UTV riders were respectful, leaving no mess behind them.
“We always do the ride afterward to see about trash,” Marzuco said. “Sunday we could not find a bit of trash anywhere. One of the guys that camped out at the fairgrounds got up the next morning and looked across the fairgrounds and said he was astonished that there was no trash, no nothing anywhere. He takes his hat off to Ste. Genevieve for being such good people who don’t trash a place like that.”
There were 102 items in the silent auction and 72 items in the oral auction, where much of the money was made.
Marzuco said donations were still coming in the end of the following week.
By this Monday, although he didn’t have exact figures, Marzuco estimated that more than twice as much had been brought in than in 2022.
“The Marzuco family appreciates everything the community has done,” Marzuco said. “It couldn’t be done without all the great people who donate their time to put it together, like Leroy and Shirley Willet, and I could go on forever and ever on that list.”