by Dennis Dalman
Clouds of color marked the finish line Color Walk-Run event May 20 in Sartell.
The 1K-5K fundraiser attracted 174 walkers-runners of every age category to Celebration Lutheran Church on a perfect late spring day filled with warm sunshine and cool breezes.
The purpose of the event was to raise funds for a youth mission trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 24-29.
As runners-walkers approached the finish line near the church, color tossers grabbed their cups of colored powders, ready to toss the colors onto the incoming participants. Then they’d toss the powder onto the bodies, causing gentle puffy explosions of bright blue, green, pink, red. The breeze would catch the airborne powder, causing clouds that rushed to the north. Onlookers roared their approval and applauded as the suddenly colorful runners-walkers ambled off for refreshments. They looked as if they had been dusted by a rainbow. Participants clearly had a lot of fun at the festive finish.
The slogan of the event was Time to Sweat Rainbows, thus the tossing of colors.
Aaron Dowzak, Celebration church’s middle-school youth and family director, organized the race with his wife, Emily. Their daughter, Gwen, 9, joined in the walk-run.
Dowzak said he was pleased by the big turnout and the pleasant weather. Many people asked Dowzak if he was going to join the race.
“No,” he’d tell them, chuckling. “I run the race (event); I don’t run (in) it.”
The church property was filled with other fun fundraising activities the day of the walk-run, such as face-painting and lots of skill games, mainly for children. The event also featured rock/pop music by the band Radio Nation.
Twenty-nine students, grades six through eight, and members of Celebration Lutheran Church will travel to Milwaukee in late June. There, they will spend several days with elderly residents, helping them do a wide range of tasks, such as yard cleanup or painting. They will also spend time with the young children of Milwaukee’s inner city.
Celebration Lutheran Church is well-known for its many mission trips by middle-school and high-school students. Dowzak, thus far, has been an adult member of more than a dozen missions by middle-school students. Among the cities they’ve helped in are Cortez, Colorado; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Savannah, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Green Bay, Wisconsin and Rapid City, South Dakota.