Carts raced down aisles and food products flew off shelves to the sound of a cheering audience Sunday at the second Supermarket Scramble at Save-A-Lot.
Hundreds crowded the store's parking lot for the scramble and to take part in 50/50 raffles, games and face painting -- all to benefit the annual KidsFest Safety Celebration hosted by the Wightman-Wieber Foundation.
Last year, the event attracted more than $4,500 people. Event organizer Faith Denslow said the proceeds from the scramble help them keep the annual activities in downtown Sandusky going.
For $5, people purchased tickets to participate in the Sandusky version of "Supermarket Sweep."
Although the majority of tickets were sold at the event, Denslow said by mid-week the committee had sold several hundreds of tickets -- surpassing the almost $500 the event raised last year.
"We broke even by the middle of last week," she said. "We've done much better this year than last year. There was such a good turnout. We've made at least a $600, $700 profit."
The Jackson Junior High Gentlemen's Club operated the majority of game tables, helping children toss footballs, rings and beanbags.
"This is a lot of fun for all the little kids," club member Justin Gonzales said. "I remember being little and thinking how cool it was to see the older kids helping us little kids out. I wanted to be here today to help other kids have fun."
Half an hour after the event began, nine names were announced to compete in the shopping cart race.
Participants were divided into three groups of three who ran through the store, filling their carts with as many items as they could.
Volunteers rushed to pick up fallen items, restock shelves after each run and keep the store tidy.
There were a few mishaps along the way, including shoppers running into displays and each other.
Several also rammed the checkout lanes trying to get their carts across the finish line before the buzzer rang.
Save-A-Lot employees rapidly scanned items. The most popular products rolling across the conveyor belt were frozen turkeys, cans of baby food, milk, diapers and dog food.
While waiting for the results, Russell Bates, laughed and joked with his family.
"I know I won," he said. "I threw in all that dog food, the expensive stuff. I just know I won."
By less than $20, Bates won first place with a cartload worth $402.99.
Triumphant, Bates made a surprising speech.
"The only reason I'm up here is because of the generosity of Mr. (Joe) Hayberger," he said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have won this. And if it wasn't for the Lord, with my aching legs and back, I wouldn't have gotten through this."
Hayberger, Erie County Commissioner candidate, tossed his entry ticket out when the number was called. In return, Bates' sister Toni's ticket number was called and she chose her brother to run the race.
The team won a $500 gift certificate to Save-A-Lot.
No participant left empty-handed. Each received gift certificates to the store or tickets to a winter dinner dance.
"It was a great turnout," Denslow said. "We're really excited about the opportunities we'll be able to bring to KidsFest because of the generosity of our community."