Camp Happiness' Father's Day 5K returning June 16

Mar. 8—This Father's Day, why not go running for a good cause?

The Father's Day 5K will return to Lockport for its second iteration, starting at 9 a.m. on June 16. All proceeds raised go toward Camp Happiness.

The race starts at Lockport's Day Road Park, with a route running along High Street, Davidson Road and East Avenue before ending back at Day Road Park.

Wes Pickreign, the chairman of Camp Happiness' board, credited John Ross, the owner of Ross Rental in Lockport, with creating the event. While he wanted to start sponsoring a 5K run on Father's Day, Ross didn't know where to donate the proceeds at first.

"We weren't too involved," Pickreign said about the camp's efforts last year. "This year with (Ross) doing it again, we said, 'Let us help more.' "

In operation for the past 15 years, Camp Happiness provides a week of day camp activities over the summer for Niagara County's developmentally disabled. The entirely volunteer operation is supported by Lockport Elks Lodge No. 41 and works with Empower WNY and Intandem, organizations that provide work opportunities with such people.

It draws in upwards of 150 people throughout the week it goes on, normally around 125 people per day. Teenagers to those over 80 have participated.

The camp originally took place for 13 years at the YMCA Camp Kenan along Lake Ontario in Barker but moved to the Cambria Volunteer Fire Company last year since it's easier to get to by bus. This year's camp will be from June 17 through 21, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. before heading back to their day care programs.

Activities throughout the week are field games, arts and crafts, carnival-type games, horse-drawn carriages through the woods, and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office's helicopter.

"We provide all the funding," Pickreign said, with volunteers paying for transportation and food for lunches.

Last year, 120 runners raised $1,800 for the camp. Pickreign's goal for this year is to get 200 runners signed up and raise $3,000.

Those interested in participating can register at, with each runner receiving a t-shirt listing all the race sponsors. Volunteers interested should email John Ross at Registration cost is $25 through May 31 then $30 until the day of.