BENNINGTON — Five years ago, Mount Anthony alum Diane Peacock started an annual Alumni Soccer game to bring back members from 30 years of MAU soccer teams.
The event, called the Blue Lollipop Road Play It Forward, still is meant to remember Maria Greene and Brandy Brown, two MAU soccer players who died in 1994, but it's become much more than that.
"The local businesses now know, we always seem to have 10 or 15 people registered [for the game] beforehand, then a bunch more show up at the last minute, it's a lot bigger at the end," Peacock said. "It's become more of a reunion with people in town, seems like July is the time to come back to Vermont."
The game itself is just one of three events over the weekend. On Friday, there will be a Welcome Back event at Ramunto's on Main Street. Then on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m., the alumni game will go down at Middle Willow Park. On Saturday night, there will be celebration cocktails at Pangaea Restaurant to end the weekend.
For the first few years, Peacock used the fundraising money for a scholarship to a MAU soccer player, but for this year, Peacock will donate last year's and this year's money to MAU guidance counselor Dan Lucy, who leads a community service trip to Nicaragua.
"Dan's last trip will be in February and the plan right now is that I'm going and funding my own way as a chaperone," Peacock said. "They can use the money for one kid or spread it around, sometimes kids do a lot of fundraising and just fall short. They do service work in a sister city and Dan has a great relationship with them."
Peacock, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C., has a travel blog that has gotten some notice. On that, she has a motto that falls right in with Blue Lollipop Road.
"Remember, celebrate, live. Today's the day," Peacock said. "[This] is a slower transition to see the world without having to be scared to do it by themselves."
During halftime, there will also be a kids fun run, something that should have a lot of participation.
"People bring their kids and plan their vacation around this," Peacock said.
Also new this year is people will get markers to write the name of someone they are playing for.
"The point of it is to do something good for someone," Peacock said. "With all the alumni, it's like a big therapy session."
For more information, visit Blue Lollipop Road on Facebook or www.bluelollipoproad.com.