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Kerr Park Color Run Brings The Family Fun
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With their Color Run T-shirts and many with sunglasses, this wave of runners took off from under the rainbow arch at Kerr Park on Saturday, April 23 looking to get splashed with plenty of color before they got back to the starting point. The event was hosted by Oakdale Christian Academy. Marg Jackson/The Leader

Some willingly ran in to the brightly colored powder being tossed at them; others tried to race away from it … but all were having fun along the course of the Color Run on Saturday at Kerr Park in Oakdale.

A family fun day, hosted by Oakdale Christian Academy in cooperation with Living Hope Christian Fellowship, brought hundreds to the park for the run, food, music, games and more.

Offered as a day of family fun in the sunshine, it also served as a fundraiser for the Oakdale Christian Academy, a Kindergarten through 12 school based at Living Hope.

“We wanted to have a fundraiser … something fun to enjoy with the whole family,” explained OCA administrator Cindy Gonsalves. “There was basically a committee of six of us planning it; we have been working on it for a few months.”

Gonsalves said they were blessed to have the support of several sponsors and were overjoyed at the number of food trucks that wanted to take part, everything from tacos to coffee to cotton candy.

“We’ve just had a lot of support,” she said.

The school capacity is 80, she added, and they currently are at 63 students enrolled.

Main goal of the fundraiser was to provide funding for additional equipment for physical education classes and outdoor improvements as well as raising some scholarship money. The school has been in operation for nine years.

“We prayed for 200 participants,” Gonsalves said of hopes for the April 23 Color Run. “It has been over 300 (registered) and I’ve lost count. We feel blessed by that.”

There were several groups of runners taking part, each had a wristband and their color would be called to line up at the start, then the runners would follow a course through Kerr Park that took them to several color stations where volunteers did their work. Many T-shirts that started out as white ended the day with a rainbow of color and kids also enjoyed the chance to play in one of the inflatable bounce house, Twister, Skee ball and more.

Many of the participants had some connection to the school or are friends with those attending while others heard about the Color Run via social media and came to check out the festivities.

Young Bella Nydahl, 6, is a kindergarten student at Oakdale Christian Academy.

“I ducked away,” she said about avoiding as much color as she could. But she was more than willing to dig in to her bright pink cotton candy, wearing some of the spun sugar on her face.

Friend Isabelle Vielbaum, 9, who attends Sierra View, said the cotton candy was her favorite part, though she did also like running through the powder.

“I keep spitting color,” she said.

OCA Principal Cy Cole couldn’t have been happier with the day.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Cole asked rhetorically, looking around at the crowd filling the park. “There are tons of people. It gives me chills.”

Cole said he, along with organizers, were buoyed by the success of what likely will become an annual event.

“The school is flourishing, and this,” he said, sweeping his arms to encompass the activities being enjoyed by all on Saturday, “it’s just fun.”

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A couple of young participants move past a powder station and get doused with some color during the Saturday morning Color Run hosted at Kerr Park, an event that also featured food, face painting, inflatables, music and more. Marg Jackson/The Leader