The Coastal Star

Pay it Forward: Racers will strut their stilettos at charity event

The annual race features crazy costumes and even crazier high heels. Photo provided

By Amy Woods

Supporters of a local charity will stomp down the sidewalk in stilettos ranging from stylish to silly during the Vince Canning Stiletto Race at Delray Beach’s Old School Square.

Set for Jan. 26, the raucous race that benefits the Achievement Centers for Children & Families will bring out adventurous adults donning high heels for the chance to win an artist-created shoe trophy.

“There is a group of people that looks forward to this race every year, and some of them go to great lengths to outdo themselves in costumes,” said Mary Kay Willson, executive director of the ACCF foundation. “There’s a lot of internal competition.”

Costumes have included dinosaurs, flamingos, leprechauns and Star Wars characters.

Competitors enter one of eight categories, the newest of which involves teams.

“It’s an opportunity for businesses, corporations, friends to get together and laugh,” Willson said. “It gets pretty spirited.”

The 75-meter dash will award trophies for both female and male entrants as long as their stilettos are intact when they cross the finish line.

“They rarely are at the end,” Willson said. “One of them has to be (intact) in order for you to win.”

For the men, free stilettos in large sizes are available from Vince Canning Shoes and can be picked up in advance.

“Men always say they can’t understand how women walk around in stilettos,” Willson said. “I think the men kind of surprise themselves.”

Another category is the Silver Sneaker Dash for those 65 and older. “We have a lot of people who want to get involved from all different age groups,” Willson said. “So our senior citizens can come with their sneakers decorated.”

For those who want to participate but do not want to race, there is the Sexy Strut category. A panel of judges will score each entrant’s sashay down the red carpet.

“I don’t see myself running,” Willson said. “I am 6 feet tall. I never mastered the stiletto.”

Proceeds from the sixth annual spectacle will go toward  ACCF programs that help 700 South County families with school-readiness skills and healthy living. 

This year, it caps Delray Beach Fashion Week and will be followed by a concert at the Old School Square Pavilion featuring a Bruce Springsteen tribute band.

“It’s a really cool event,” Willson said. “People love to get involved.” 

If You Go

What: Vince Canning Stiletto Race

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26

Where: Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

Cost: $25

Information: Call 266-0003 or visit

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