A message for our readers

The Galena Gazette is providing all of its news stories and photos of the COVID-19 pandemic with no payment required as a public service and in an effort so you can be totally knowledgeable as to how the pandemic affects you. Please consider a print or online subscription to support this vital reporting by a locally owned business .

Going virtual: Planning begins for Galena virtual Family Fitness Weekend


It’s really quite sad, but entirely understandable to hear that so many of our wonderful summer and fall events are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is afflicting our country and the entire world.

There is some good news with one community event that will take place and is being expanded upon.

Here’s the deal.

Several weeks ago, the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society announced cancellation of this year’s Heroes for History Stair Challenge planned for Saturday, Sept. 12. The five-kilometer route includes running up the Green Street steps and then running down Prospect Street to Hill Street and then Bench Street and then doing it all over again and again…

This event caught the attention of many throughout the area, even firefighters who took on the challenge all decked out in their turnout gear, a hot task on a hot day.

Proceeds from this event are split three ways with 50 percent going to the historical society and 25 percent each to the Galena Fire Department and Galena Emergency Medical Service.

With social distancing requirements in question, the historical society operating with a staff of just two and the probability that it might be difficult to find enough volunteers, it’s understandable how the event could be cancelled.

To their credit, museum board members and staff were open to a suggestion about adding a twist to the event with the possibility of making it bigger and the potential of involving more people this year.

With organized rides, runs and walks cancelled this year due to the pandemic, numerous organizations have created “virtual” events as a way to give continued life to these activities and to continue raising money for charity.

The thought here is to morph the Heroes for History event into a virtual event and expand it. Think in terms of an event called the Galena Virtual Family Fitness Weekend. Here are the rough details:

•The event is open to individuals and families.

Advertisement Advertisement

•Participants can engage in any form of exercise they want at any time they want the weekend of Sept. 12-13, whether it be running, biking, walking, kayaking or whatever you do for exercise, including the stairway challenge.

•The historical society will set up a registration page on its website.

•Registered participants who make a donation to the cause (when registering) will be eligible for door prizes.

•Some thought is also going into collecting photos of participants engaging in their favorite physical activity as well as finding a way to record how much time collectively was spent doing these activities and how many miles were biked, walked, run, etc.

•Since participants engage in their activities when they want, volunteers aren’t needed which relieves a burden on the historical society.

Planning for the Galena Virtual Family Fitness Weekend is in its early stages and that additional details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks. Now, at least, you can circle the days of Sept. 12-13 to participate in this community activity.

Proceeds from Galena’s fall events such as the Tour of Galena’s Historic Homes, Oktoberfest and Galena Country Fair are all based on supporting community organizations. Participating in the Galena Virtual Family Fitness Weekend is a way to support the historical society, Galena Fire Department and Galena EMS. It’s also a way to honor the heroes who risked and lost their lives trying to help others on that awful day, 9-11, that took place 19 years ago.

The historical society is also looking for sponsorships from businesses and organizations. If you like this idea, sign up to be a sponsor. It's free. The goal is to have huge support from the entire community. Donations of door prizes are appreciated.

I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions. I can be reached at cnewton@galgazette.com or at The Gazette. I’m sure historical society staff member Denise Spielman will be happy to answer questions, as well.

P. Carter Newton,