KENNEWICK – Sarah Palin signed copies of her book, hugged fans and took pictures with a cheering crowd as she prepared for a benefit race during her Thanksgiving visit to Washington state.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate is spending the holiday with relatives in Richland before resuming her nationwide book tour over the weekend.
She participated in a 5K race to benefit the Red Cross on Thursday morning, surrounded by a crowd of cheering fans.
She didn’t finish the race, opting to leave early to avoid more crowds, said Kennewick police Officer Michelle Pitts.
“That made our day,” said Gary Waddoups, of Kennewick, who snapped a few pictures of Palin. “Her reaction was so genuine. You wouldn’t get that out of other people.”
About 25 Palin relatives had registered for the annual Turkey Trot at Kennewick’s Columbia Park, said Heather Filbin of the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The Tri-City Herald reports some of Palin’s relatives wore T-shirts saying “Rogue Runners, A Proud Family.”
Palin arrived late Wednesday from Orlando, Fla.
She planned to have dinner at the Richland home of her aunt Katie Johnson, a sister of her mother.
Palin’s grandparents, Clem and Helen Sheeran, moved to Richland in 1943 so he could work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
“It’s kind of surreal. But it’s really good to be back in the Tri-Cities to reconnect with the roots,” Palin told reporters after touching down in a private jet Wednesday.
“I like the wonderful chaos of the family (at Thanksgiving).”
Palin resumes her book tour Sunday, signing copies of “Going Rogue” at a book store in Richland.
She said her last visit to the area was about a year ago.
“I like the summer here,” said Palin, who was accompanied by her son Trig and daughter Piper, adding her husband, Todd, was back home, “fixing the roof.”
Palin said she’s thankful for the safe return of her son Track from Iraq.