Speedway Children¿s Charities will brighten the holiday season for 74 local organizations by distributing $410,000 during its 14th annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Grant Distribution Ceremony Wednesday evening, Dec. 11, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

The money, raised through various fundraising activities and individual and corporate donations throughout the year, aids local organizations in meeting the emotional, medical or educational needs of area children.

The holiday festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and include the lighting of a 20-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree. Caroling, hot apple cider, snacks and an appearance by Santa Claus are also scheduled, and the public is invited to participate.

In addition to the monetary donations, Speedway Children¿s Charities will present 100 bicycles to area police agencies for holiday distribution.

Bruton Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., founded Speedway Children¿s Charities in 1984. Since then, the organization has expanded to each of the six Speedway Motorsports race tracks across the country and has dispersed over $8 million.

H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Tom Sadler, executive director of Speedway Children¿s Charities, will be on hand to assist Smith in distributing the checks.

¿The holidays are a wonderful time to help children,¿ said Wheeler. ¿Speedway Children¿s Charities works diligently all year to make a difference in the lives of others, and this is a very heart-warming event.¿

For additional details, contact Speedway Children¿s Charities at (704) 455-4396 or visit www.speedwaycharities.org.