By Billy Tuite —

Hundreds of community members and University of Wisconsin–Stout students gathered in Wakanda Park May 2 to take part in the Color Dash 5K run/walk and raise money for the Menomonie Theater Guild.

The Color Dash is an untimed fun-run marathon that puts a greater focus on community and entertainment rather than competition. Participating runners, starting with plain white t-shirts, were hit with powdery colored cornstarch and glitter periodically throughout the run, and the end result was a rainbow of colorful and sparkly faces.

“You can run, you can walk, you can crawl, you can slither, whatever you want to do,” said Elizabeth Merrill, Color Dash committee member and Menomonie Theater Guild administrative assistant. “It’s just a fun event for friends, family and community to get out there and get a different color thrown at you at every kilometer.”

This is the second year the Color Dash has come to Menomonie, and numerous Stout organizations joined in on the fun this time around. Sigma Sigma Sigma, Pi Lambda Phi and the Blue Devil Dance Team all served as volunteer “dasher-splashers” and contributed to the communal rainbow.

The best part of Color Dash events is that 50 percent of the registration proceeds go toward helping a local non-profit. In the case of the Menomonie Color Dash, the beneficiary is Menomonie Theater Guild.

“Last year for the Color Dash we had over 500 runners and raised over $7,000,” Merrill said. “That was huge, considering we’re also competing with another color run event that was happening in Eau Claire the following day.”

This year’s event was a little smaller with an estimated 200 runners. While the exact proceed numbers have yet to be released, the contributions are sure to help the Theater Guild with future projects and productions.

“It’s allowing the Menomonie Theater Guild to continue on within the community, since we’ve been here for over 50 years.”

For those who missed this year’s colorful explosion, rest assured there will be opportunities to partake in the future, as the Theater Guild is already making plans for next year. They want to continue this community-building experience that brings together students and local residents alike.

“It’s nice for Stout students to see what the rest of the community is like because a lot of times there’s this divide,” Merrill said. “It’s nice to get out there and meet the other community members, rather than just other students.”

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