A certain six-legged red mite has recently been spotted in the area, which can only mean one thing. It’s almost time for the annual Chigger Chase and the official beginning of Ardmore’s holiday season.

“We’ve really been gearing up,” said Jake Charnock, chair of the Ardmore Regional Park Authority. “Our t-shirts are out and up on our Facebook page and will soon be up on the website.”

The event will take place on Nov. 17 and includes five separate races. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. with the 1/4 mile race for children six and under. Next will be the 1/2 mile race for children seven to 12. After that the adults get their turn with options including a 1 mile, a 5K, and 5 mile race.

“This will only be the second year we’re having the five mile trail run,” said race committee member Nancy Sjulin. “Last year we had about 60 people compete in that race so we’re hoping to see that number grow.”

Race organizers also hope to see more people participating in all the different races this year and are hoping for nice weather — especially after last year’s cold and windy conditions.

“I think we had between 600 and 650 people competing, so we’re hoping to get it back up to around 800,” Sjulin said. “Girls on the Run will be participating again this year, and their numbers are up. So that should in turn increase our numbers as well.”

Once the race is over the Festival of Lights will officially begin, but Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Alicia Henry warns visitors that the gates may not open at exactly 6 p.m.

“The Festival of Lights opens up as soon as the Chigger Chase is complete, but before that begins everyone has to clear out,” Henry said. “People are welcome to start lining up at 6 p.m., but first all the racers have to be out of the park.”

Registration is now open online at www.chiggerchase.net. Registration fees vary based on the event, but everyone who registers between now and Oct. 30 at 11:59 p.m. will get $5 off and are guaranteed an official 2018 Chigger Chase t-shirt when they sign up. Online registration will continue through Nov. 14 at 11:59 p.m. but there is no guarantee of t-shirt availability.

All proceeds will benefit the Ardmore Regional Park and Trail Development and the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma.

For more information visit www.chiggerchase.net or visit the official Chigger Chase Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chigger.chase.