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UMPI, Wintergreen celebrate success of northern Maine’s first-ever color-filled 5K

Wednesday, 04 September 2013

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With perfect weather, hundreds of participants, and thousands of dollars raised, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Wintergreen Arts Center are calling their Color Presque Isle 5K event a resounding success. Their fun-filled 5K, which welcomed more than 400 participants and served as a benefit for the Northern Maine Center for the Cultural Arts, raised more than $11,000.

"Everything about this event has been just amazing, from the huge number of people who turned out to participate, to the many sponsors and volunteers who helped us to pull it all off, to the incredible amount of money we were able to raise for The Arts right here in Aroostook County," Wendy Gilman-Zubrick, Wintergreen Arts Center Executive Director, said. "I think all of us on the planning committee are in awe over the community support we received for this event."

Proceeds from the Color Presque Isle 5K—the first of its kind in The County—are being used to further the development of the Northern Maine Center for the Cultural Arts [NMCCA]. The establishment of this center will transform 149 State St. into the region's very first facility dedicated to the visual arts, with the Wintergreen Arts Center on the first floor, UMPI's Downtown Art Gallery on the second floor, and UMPI's Art Studio Space on the third floor. For more details about this project, please visit www.umpi.edu/nmcca.

"The University of Maine at Presque Isle couldn't be more delighted with how the community embraced the Color Presque Isle 5K and showed major support for UMPI and Wintergreen's efforts to further develop the visual and cultural arts in our region," UMPI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Sonntag said. "We are making excellent progress on the center and look forward to partnering with Wintergreen on more events and fundraisers like this to make it a reality. In this era of ever-tightening budgets, innovative fund raising and community support are the keys to making new ventures happen."

The Color Presque Isle 5K took place on Aug. 24, with crowds of people dressed in white running from Riverside Park along the bike path to the University and up the driveway to the wind turbine before heading back to Riverside. Along the way, volunteers at six different color stations showered colored powder on participants, leaving each of them with a unique rainbow of skin, hair and clothes.

To keep the runners and walkers motivated between color stations, the 5K included several water stop areas sponsored by local businesses that featured themes like "the beach" and "the holidays." In addition, local musicians, including Jo and the Moonlighters and Mawita'jig E'pijig (Gathering of Women, the Micmac women's drumming group), played music along the course and volunteers with megaphones shouted encouragement to participants. Several local photographers also took photos throughout the course. Selected photos will be featured in an exhibit this coming winter at the Wintergreen Arts Center. At the end of the route, organizers and spectators cheered on participants, and, after they crossed the finish line, TAMC officials were on hand to greet them with water and healthy snacks.

Throughout the morning at Riverside Park, family-friendly events were underway. The Maine Jump provided inflatables and the Wintergreen crew offered children's activities such as face painting, glitter tattoos and caricatures. To cap off the entire experience, organizers gathered participants for the highly anticipated group color bombs. Participants, who had received small, colored powder packets earlier in the day, opened them up and, at the end of a short countdown, threw the powder into the air, creating a huge, multi-colored cloud above their heads.

"There was so much color and so many smiles—it was just a wonderful day," Gilman-Zubrick said. "We've received many positive comments from people about the event and what a great time they had, so we've already decided we need to make this happen again and are working on a date for next year."

To view photos of the event, check out the Color Presque Isle 5K facebook page.

Event sponsors included MMG Insurance, McCain Foods, Huber Engineered Woods, Cary Medical Center, Katahdin Trust Company, JoyFit, After the Bell, TAMC, Social Envy Image and Event Consulting, ReMax, Transformations Ministries, Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee, BalanceBPO and The Maine Jump.