By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The sun came out Monday evening, and so did the crowds for the first Boerner Be Wild festival.
“We knew Hank would be looking out for us,” said Don Lewis, Tupelo Parks and Recreation director, as hundreds milled around Ballard Park.
The festival was planned to honor the legacy of the late Hank Boerner, a tireless community and fitness advocate, who died unexpectedly in December.
Hundreds of Tupelo Public School District elementary students ran in the Boern to Run Kids Challenge. Others joined in the obstacle course and munched on cheeseburgers. Two Drink Minimum provided a soundtrack for the evening
“We’re just glad everybody’s out and having a good time,” said his widow Helen Boerner, as she and children Hal and Hunter cheered the finishers in the Boern to Run Challenge. “Hank would be thrilled that they were out and exercising.”
During the festivities organized by the Healthy Tupelo Task Force, the skate park was formally rededicated as the Hank and Helen Boerner Skate Park.
Hal Boerner donated a piece of skateable artwork he created for his Tupelo High School senior project.
“It was always meant to be here,” said Helen Boerner, but it needed more work. The festival and dedication of the skate park inspired him to finish to honor his father. “Hank always encouraged his art.”
The Healthy Tupelo Task Force is planning to make the festival an annual event that will help raise funds to support creative community fitness projects.