The 2019 Relay of Voices: The Great River Run for six talented dancers will make an overnight stop in Eudora. Four female artists and two males, acting both as relay runners and support personnel, are training for the approximately 3000 mile run. Victoria Bradford, a New Orleans native, made a 30 day drive on the Great River Road developing the relay.
While visiting in Eudora, Bradford met with locals as she planned the route and reviewed the daily distance. Further, she specified goals to learn the stories of the individuals who lived along the Mississippi River and interview these people to shared characteristics about the 104 communities that will be overnight stops for the six member team.
According to Ms. Bradford, the Relay of Voices: The Great River Run will begin July 8, 2019, at Lake Itasca, MN’s Mississippi River Headwaters. The goal is to reach the mouth of the Mississippi by Nov 4, 2019. Along the Great River Road, the team will participate in several small town initiatives, many televised opportunities and some national projects.
Quincy, IL, is the smallest town in America to host a TED Conference. Ms. Bradford detailed that the Relay of Voices runners will be part of the online talk focusing on ideas worth spreading while they visit in Quincy. In Clarksdale, MS, the relay participants, working with the Lower Mississippi Foundation, hope to enhance place knowledge and honor the Great Migration through dance. Ms. Bradford specified that opportunities, like Quincy and Clarksdale, create more connection between the relay participants and their craft.
Ms. Bradford stated that as a Chicago resident she felt as if the relay was taking her home to New Orleans, but as she began to plan the event there was the difficulty of route selection. She located the Great River Road map sponsored by the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. The 10 state route was marked as a managed corridor. That factor and the related travel commissioners along the Great River Road prompted her presentation to the travel promoters in Spring, 2018.
Current plans are for the six relay runners to maintain their reflections about the Great River Road through social media efforts with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In addition, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission will be posting relay updates and images on the Great River Road website titled experiencemississippiriver.com.
Terri Austin McCullough is the current national Pilot Pro Tem for the 10 state MRPC. Dr. McCullough detailed that the Great River Road map can be obtained for $5 by calling 866-763-8310 or writing to 701 East Washington Ave, Suite 202, Madison, WI 53703. In addition, MRPC Interpretive Centers carry copies of the 10 state Great River Road map.
Smart phone users can download the Great River Road Driving Guide app for both Apple and Android devices at no cost. Both the print map and the smart phone application will allow tracking of Relay of Voices: The Great River Run. The map will be invaluable in following the hosted website pictures as well as following the social media feeds.