Newton Falls – On a wet, stormy Saturday, streaks of color were raining from… not the sky, but the streets as volunteers doused runners with a powdery, chalky substance as they darted past on their way through town in support of local students.

To kick off October and raise funds for education, the Newton Falls school system sponsored a 5K Color Run which led participants on a winding path from the back of the school complex, around a neighborhood or two, by the land where the old Arlington school building once stood, and then south on Milton Boulevard which would take them back to where they started, all the while being directed through a gauntlet of “color stations” where a blast of tint would be added to one’s previously-white wardrobe. Commemorative t-shirts just perfect for that purpose, blank save for the “I ? Newton Falls” tiger graphic, were included in the swag bag for the teams who pre-registered, and over the course of the run it was evident that the goal was to leave no swatch of fabric untouched – getting colored-up was half the fun!

With the option to register in four different categories – run, walk, crawl (very slow walk) or bicycle, there were ample opportunities for those interested to partake of the experience and approximately three hundred residents, visitors, students and staff members did! Even with the rainy forecast which might have caused some to run the other way, there were still two dozen walk-ins who signed up that day. Once everyone checked in and prepared for step-off, radio station Y103 provided tunes to get the party started, the NFHS tiger mascot encouraged high energy, and a Zumba demonstration helped the crowd get ready to get some fresh air and exercise and have fun doing it.

As the cool weather approaches, the autumn trees may be spending their time turning red, orange and yellow but these run/walk/crawl/bicyclists spent the weekend turning red, orange and yellow… and green and blue too! With the universe’s time-honored atmospheric artistry not to be outdone, thanks to Mother Nature’s input, this time the traditional Color Run became a “watercolor” run.

Completing the drenched route, the parade of people trudging – albeit happily – down the main sidewalk in the remaining rain for the homestretch looked like creative genius eccentrics who had escaped an explosion at an art supply store. It appears the “melted crayon” look was the fashion of the day on the runway for these trendsetters who now have a one-of-a-kind custom-colorized shirt as a souvenir of the aqua-enhanced occasion.

To keep the designer fun going, extra bags of color were available for purchase and plenty of people took advantage of the opportunity: puffs of the brightly-hued powder could be seen poofing into the sky all over the parking lot like colored clouds following a paint-happy Pig-Pen!

Wrapping up the day’s fundraising festivities, a well-attended quarter auction took the stage in the evening with a plethora of prizes including the 124 donated auction items, a 50/50 raffle, lottery ticket tree and door prize LCD TV. The real winners of the event, however, are the students who will benefit from the proceeds, reach the finish lines for their education and step off into their own brightly-colored futures.