The University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Wintergreen Arts Center are teaming up again to present one of The County’s most unique and fun-filled 5K fundraisers—the Third Annual Color Presque Isle 5K, where participants dress in white and get showered with colored powder throughout the course. The event, which serves as a benefit for arts programming in downtown Presque Isle, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. starting at Riverside Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
Color Presque Isle 5K events in 2014 and 2013 attracted hundreds of people of all ages, sizes and running abilities to take to the course, and raised thousands of dollars for downtown arts programming. Needless to say, organizers are excited to do it all again.
“Each year, we are thrilled with the community’s enthusiasm for the Color Presque Isle 5K,” Heather Sincavage, event co-director and Director of UMPI’s Reed Fine Art Gallery, said. “We have so much in store for our participants this year that reflects our mission-support for the Arts In Aroostook County. We are a growing event and are so pleased that, this year, not only will people leave looking like a piece of art, they will have art to take in along the way as they experience the course. On August 22, Presque Isle is our studio and gallery and we’re encouraging everyone to be creative and join the fun!”
Similar to other runs that have happened across the nation, this event involves volunteers dropping colored powder—it’s cornstarch-based, non-toxic and non-allergenic—on participants at various spots throughout the course, which begins at Riverside Park and loops around to the UMPI campus and back. This year’s route includes a stretch along Main St. from State St. to the UMPI campus.
“We’re so excited to be bringing this arts-focused event to the community for the third time and are packing in lots of fun, arts-focused activities before, during and after the 5K, including a Best Costume Contest,” Kari Wells-Puckett, event co-director and Wintergreen Arts Center board member, said. “We are so grateful for all the community support we get for this fun and family friendly event so that we can continue bringing high quality arts programming to our downtown.”
Funding from this year’s event will help to support scholarships and the after school program at Wintergreen Arts Center as well as UMPI’s Empty Bowls benefit and Visiting Artist Program.
Event organizers are pleased to have several sponsors on board. This year’s Red level sponsor is Presque Isle Healthy Maine Streets. Blue level sponsors are the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee and MMG Insurance. Yellow level sponsors are Huber Engineered Woods, State Farm Insurance, TAMC, Katahdin Trust Company, Northern Athletic Supply, Competitor ME, and PenAir. This year’s Green level sponsors are Marden, Dubord, Benier & Stevens Law Firm and McCain Foods.
Other local businesses are stepping up to help fill 400 swag bags that will be handed out to participants while supplies last. This year’s T-shirts will be given out to the event’s first 250 registrants. Those who don’t get their registration in soon enough but who still want a T-shirt will be able to purchase them for $10 each at Northern Athletic Supply.
This year’s course will feature six color stations, sponsored by local businesses and staffed with teams of volunteers dressed up to reflect specific themes. Organizers will have music and a few art “installations” along the course to provide motivation for 5Kers and showcase the types of activities their participation is helping to support. In addition, local photographers will be taking photos throughout the course, which will be available for purchase afterward with proceeds to benefit arts in the downtown. Selected photos will be featured in an exhibit this coming winter at the Wintergreen Arts Center.
At the finish line, refreshments and water provided by TAMC will be awaiting participants. At a designated time near the end of the event, all participants and organizers will be invited to take part in a giant color throw. Color packets will be included in all swag bags, and more will be on sale the day of the event in case participants want to throw a little extra color during the 5K.
New this year, because people have shown up to past Color PI 5K events with wigs, tutus and other fun-loving attire, organizers have decided to host a Best Costume Contest and will be awarding prizes after the 5K in the individual, group, and kid categories. The grand prize is a People’s Choice award with the winner receiving 2 round trip tickets to Boston courtesy of PenAir.
To add to the festivities, during and after the event there will several activities available for participants and those cheering on 5Kers, including face painting, a community mural and the Daniels Ice Cream Truck.
Event organizers are looking for volunteers to cover the registration table, prep and staff the route, help with set up and clean up, and, of course, throw colored powder. All volunteers will receive a free event T-shirt. To register as a volunteer, please visit www.umpi.edu/colorpresqueisle5k and click on Volunteer Sign-up. All are invited to attend a Volunteer Prep Meeting on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. at UMPI’s Campus Center. At that time, volunteers will be given their job duties for event day and get all their questions answered.
Participants and community members are also invited to help spread the word and the excitement for the upcoming Color Presque Isle 5K by liking the event’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/colorpi5k and by joining the conversation across social media platforms by using the tag #colorpi5k.
Event organizers are also asking participants to keep several things in mind ahead of the event. To get the most out of all that colored powder, participants are encouraged to wear white and may also want to consider wearing protective eyewear (swim goggles, sunglasses, etc.). This is not a timed event, so participants should feel free to take it at their own pace. Anyone attending the event is asked not to bring pets or bikes.
The registration fee is $30 until July 31 and $40 starting Aug. 1; children under 10 are free. Registration is payable by cash, check or credit card. The registration fee includes a T-shirt for the first 250 paid registrants and a color packet to use during the color throw. Course maps will be available at check-in, which will be underway on Friday, Aug. 21 from 5-8 p.m. at Riverside, and on Saturday, Aug. 22 starting at 8 a.m. at Riverside Park. Register at www.umpi.edu/colorpresqueisle5k or in person at Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle.