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'Color Dash' will be part of Windsurfing Regatta for first time

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WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival will be a little more colorful this year.

For the first time in the event's history, a "Color Dash" will take place on the Saturday of the event.

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"A color dash is a fun 5K run or walk," said Hamid Torabpour, race director. "Participants who sign up get a white T-shirt and they basically go through the course. As they go through the course, we have color stations throughout. We have volunteers on the sidelines, and they basically plaster the people who run through with colored corn starch."

At each kilometer, participants will get doused with a different color -- pink, blue, green, yellow and orange -- with the object to be as colorful as possible by the end. The event is untimed and open to all ages.

"No time, no winners," Torabpour said. "The winner is how much color can you get on you?"

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, and will start and finish by the fire station.

"They can be down around Sailboard Beach at lunchtime as people are accumulating and assembling and everything throughout the day," said Regatta board chairperson Ken Moser. "From a Regatta standpoint, we always welcome anything that will recognize the arts and unique type things. That's the unvarnished part of it all, and we welcome the opportunity to share these events with the people who are coming for the Regatta. We look at it as a perk or another added attraction, as well, to other folks that would come in from out of town to experience the Regatta. We see it as a win-win for both sides."

According to the website, running is not required. In fact, participants can run, walk, dash, crawl or roll. The color will wash off and is not permanent.

The Color Dash will benefit the YPals program through the Worthington Area YMCA.

"That's one of my favorite weekends. It's typically a gorgeous weekend," said YMCA Health and Fitness Director Ryan Seykora. "We look to engage people to be involved and active. I think the biggest appeal to this was the family aspect. Because it's not a timed event, you can bring your family and get them involved. That's what appealed to me -- how popular these events are."

Torabpour started with one color dash last year, but the success of that event has created demand throughout the U.S. He coordinates these races as fundraising events.

"We did one last year and it was a huge success," he said. "We had 1,000 people show up. To have more than 200 people for your first time is phenomenal. We did so well that we had charities from all over call and say 'Hey, can you do color runs for us?' This year, we have about 17 planned."

Registration is open on www.thecolordash5k.com and www.ymcaworthington.org. There is already excitement about the event.

"I've never experienced it myself, but when I brought it to the board and we had discussion, several of the members right away said, 'Oh, a color run, that's going to be great,'" Moser said. "For the YMCA, it's their healthy activity in a fun manner and then they come down and celebrate at the Regatta."

The goal of the event is to help bring more people to town, as well as offer a new activity.

"The popularity is there. People will drive to go to these events. People will go to Sioux Falls for it. Why can't we do something like that here? Why can't we keep people and events local?" Seykora said.

"I wanted it to come to Worthington because I want to continue to engage our community in being active," he added. "I think that's the role the Y has to play -- how can we make physical activity fun? How can we keep people wanting to be active? It's a challenge."

Along with the race, Torabpour will bring a DJ, which will have a dance competition and a costume contest.

"We have a DJ who comes and entertains the crowd and he hands out free color packs just for fun," he said. "The more color, the better, basically. At the end of the race, after everyone finishes, we have a big color party where the DJ will count down and the entire group of people take their color packets and throw them in the air, which is where you see all the multiple colors flying through the air."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.

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