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Brew & Buddy Run, Gingerbread Christmas draw crowds

There was not a “cotton-headed ninnymuggins” in sight Sunday as more than 100 participated in the third annual Brew & Buddy Run.

Kicking off at the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville, the 3-mile run drew an all-ages crowd of “Elf” fans. Participants started their run at the theater and made a loop around the Downtown Mall — with pit stops at the Champion and Three Notch’d breweries along the way.

Closing out the run was a screening of “Elf,” a more recent addition to the pantheon of holiday classics from which the run draws its name. Starring Will Ferrell, the movie follows a human raised by elves named Buddy as he finds out his true parentage and travels to New York City to find his father.

Clad in seasonally appropriate holiday onesies, Sunday’s runners were a distinct sight as they poured out of the theater and onto the mall.

Prior to the run, Sarah Johns said this was her second year participating.

“Last year I got a little winded but, thankfully, this year the weather is nice and I’m better prepared,” she said.

Jordan Patricks, another participant, said that as excited as he was for the run, he was even more anxious to watch “Elf” afterward.

“I love ‘Elf’ — it’s a modern classic,” he said. “I haven’t seen it on the big screen since it came out a long while ago. It’s just funny to see Will Ferrell play such an innocent and earnest character.”

In the ever-busy holiday season, the Brew & Buddy Run wasn’t the only themed run Sunday.

Earlier in the day, hundreds participated in the Arc of the Piedmont’s sixth annual Santa Fun Run and Walk, which raised money for the group’s work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Elsewhere on the Downtown Mall, Efrain Gomez was shopping for gifts for his family. No stranger to the mall, Gomez said he still prefers to buy gifts in person.

“Sure you can find some good deals online, but there’s just something I like about being able to hold a product in my hands and be sure of what I’m getting,” he said.

Over at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel, the spirit of giving back was in full effect at the Virginia Gingerbread Christmas gingerbread competition. Hosted by the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville, the competition featured works from dozens of amateur and professional bakers as part of this year’s “Christmas Around the World” theme.

The gingerbread houses will be on display in the Preston Room at the Omni through Wednesday, with winners being selected soon after. Those interested in finding out more about the competition or donating to the Ronald McDonald House can visit


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