OAKLAND -- Prepare to celebrate health, happiness and Halloween on Sunday with Oakland's Color Run and Haunt Fest.
This feel-good, fun, colorful event welcomes "Color Runners" of all shapes, sizes and ages to recapture the joy of being young and, literally, surrounding oneself in the colors of the rainbow.
During this 3-mile loop walk or run around Lake Merritt's inner track, participants throw colored powder on each other, a different color at each stage. The result is hundreds of multihued individuals whose white clothing becomes a spectrum of colors. Faces, hair, clothing, glasses become festooned with biodegradable, nontoxic cornstarch powder in blue, green, yellow, pink and more.
The aim is to bring together the people of the Bay Area, creating an artistic canvas of colorful fun. Participants can keep this upbeat feeling beyond the event, knowing that part of the proceeds will go to support youth in the community. There are no official winners in this untimed event that's more about having fun than exercise.
"It's about feeling good, being healthy and happy. I think it's about being young again," said Lee Kilpatrick, Color Run LLC director. "It's a vivid, come-to-life experience and that wholeness we had as youth."
At the end of each of the runs, there will a huge finish festival where participants receive their own color packets allowing them to join in the color bombing, as well as being celebrated by family and friends. Meanwhile, the music of artists such as Beyoncé and Adam Levine will add to the feel-good atmosphere.
"It's a unique, eclectic experience with the color bombing going on and songs playing that are about positivity and uplifting yourself," Kilpatrick said. "We find that people walk away relatively happy."
As the finish festival winds down, the Harvest Haunt Festival keeps the party going with a petting zoo, bounce house and pony rides for the kids. At the same time, Halloween non-scary ghouls and goblins will wander around
interacting with the crowd and one another.
The run is open to participants from 8 years and up, and while it targets those in their 20s, it's not unusual to see babies in strollers next to older folks in their 80s or 90s. Each is encouraged to walk or run as their health dictates.
Around 500 runners will be youth from Oakland, participating through tickets provided by the event planners. These youth come from faith-based organizations, nonprofit youth groups of youth centers in the city of Oakland. To further the spirit of giving back, Color Run LLC has also partnered with a nonprofit organization that sponsors the Mood Tu Kids Fest and it will be receiving part of the proceeds of the event. Mood Tu will use the proceeds as operating expenses for their Kids Fest, which combines music with several useful workshops.
"Each year, the Kids Fest has an ambassador group or artist that speaks to youth about the importance of education, of celebrating entrepreneurship and of knowing the ins and outs of how to conduct themselves in business," Kilpatrick said.
"It's about educating kids who have the tenacity and drive to succeed."
As director of Color Run LLC, Kirkpatrick hopes people will take part in a day that's all about feeling healthy, happy and kidlike again and also see this as an opportunity to see and interact with youth in a carefree setting.
"This event benefits youth in the Bay Area," Kilpatrick said. "Our organization is showing our support not only by giving money to a nonprofit organization, but also by bringing in kids and allowing them to have the experience that their parents might not be able to purchase for them. I think it's important for people to support this."
What: Oakland Color Run and Haunt Fest
When: noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27
Where: Lake Merritt Edoff Memorial Bandstand, Grand Avenue and Bellevue Avenue, Lakeside Park, Oakland
Tickets: https://www.ticketfly.com/event/392995. $10-$50. Tickets cannot be purchased at the event, but can be purchased online until 12 p.m. Sunday.