Second Annual Kelsey Perez Memorial Hayride Held at Eschenbrenner Farm

Participants of the Kelsey Perez Memorial Hayride launch balloons in honor of Kelsey Perez at Pettigrew Cemetary Saturday, Oct. 1.

Participants of the Kelsey Perez Memorial Hayride launch balloons in honor of Kelsey Perez at Pettigrew Cemetary Saturday, Oct. 1. Photo by John Inman.

Eschenbrenner Farm was filled with local residents who participated in the Second Annual Kelsey Perez Hayride. It was fitting to have the hayride at Eschenbrenner Farm as Perez, a Jamestown kindergarten student who succumbed to a very rare form of sarcoma cancer May 18, 2010, enjoyed spending time at the Farm exploring and seeing the pumpkins.

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Participants get ready to go on the hayride to and from Pettigrew Cemetery.

"Kelsey loved hayrides," Joy Whitaker, Kelsey's grandmother said, "and we have several pictures of Kelsey with pumpkins from the farm. This is very much a connection with who she was. It is a memorial to Kelsey and a way to raise money towards scholarships for Jamestown students. When Kelsey was sick the Jamestown community and surrounding areas really stepped up, supported us and were a part of our lives during that time."

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Participants get ready to go on the hayride to and from Pettigrew Cemetery.

The hayride started at Eschenbrenner Farm and traveled to Pettigrew Cemetery, where Perez is buried. At the cemetery Whitaker gave some words before Gay Bergthold, Kelsey's aunt, said a prayer. Then each participant was given a balloon with a card attached. The card had information about Kelsey, a request and address to mail the card back so they could see where the balloons ended up. Last year they received two of the balloons which landed in Kentucky and Tennessee. Participants were encouraged to write notes on the balloon or card before all of the balloons were launched simultaneously. Next, the participants rode back to Eschenbrenner Farm where they enjoyed hot dogs, chili, nachos, cookies and other goodies.

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The balloons launched fly to their destinations.

For more of this story check out the Oct. 5 issue of the California Democrat.

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