Traverse City Kids’ Run to Benefit Carter Oosterhouse’s Playground-Building Organization

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

If you’re in Traverse City for the National Cherry Festival, be on the lookout for hometown handyman and DIY celebrity, Carter Oosterhouse.
The Trading Spaces star will host the fourth annual Carter’s Kids Festival Fun Run on Thursday, July 9. Oosterhouse will start the one-mile race for kids of all ages along the National Cherry Festival’s Junior Royale Parade route and meet participants and their parents at the finish. The race starts at 6 p.m. and is a fundraiser for Oosterhouse’s non-profit organization, Carter’s Kids.
Quay Chilcott, Carter’s Kids Executive Director, said Oosterhouse loves his hometown and strives to make it back as often as he can.
“It’s definitely a case of him loving where he comes from and being very proud of it,” Chilcott said.
Since Carter’s Kids was formed eight years ago, Oosterhouse and crew have built a total of six playgrounds in Michigan, with two in Traverse City, and one each in Petoskey, Frankfort, Grand Haven, and Holland. The group is also working on a playground build this summer that will take place at Pulaski Elementary/Middle School in Detroit, part of a larger project called Life Remodeled.
Carter’s Kids was formed to help combat childhood obesity by creating inviting spaces for kids to play. By building and developing community parks and playgrounds in their neighborhoods, it’s hoped that children will become more physically active.
“This is something that every community in the United States needs and it addresses the greater issue of having a place to play,” Chilcott said of the playgrounds the group has helped to build in communities across the country.
He said the organization is able to help spur the development of four to six community projects per year, helping local community groups raise money, access building materials, and rally support. Chilcott said Oosterhouse tries to commit to a project in the Traverse City region at least once per year.
Carter Oosterhouse with his wife, actress Amy Smart, at the start of a previous fun run.
Carter Oosterhouse with his wife, actress Amy Smart, at the start of a previous fun run.
“I founded Carter’s Kids because I wanted young people to have a place in their neighborhood where they can enjoy activities to increase their health, self-esteem, and overall wellbeing,” Oosterhouse said on the organization’s website. “Growing up in Traverse City, my fondest childhood memory was getting together with the other neighborhood kids and playing sports. We played football, basketball, soccer, and baseball … whatever filled the day. I grew up living an active lifestyle with a real sense of community. Plus, I began building things at a very early age so the combination of sports and building are a big part of me as an adult.”
Showing further commitment to the community, Oosterhouse recently opened a winery, The Bonobo, with his brother Todd Oosterhouse on Old Mission Point peninsula, which features a small plate menu designed by celebrity chef Mario Batali.
Are your kids participating in the fun run on Thursday? Tell us how they do in the comments!
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Photos courtesy of Carter’s Kids

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