Color Me Rad

My Rainbow City

April 11, 2015


I was all excited to get up yesterday to do the Color Me Rad 5K Run, but it rained early, and it was 9:30 am before I struggled outside–just as the first group of runners came by our end of the park.



I saw where they were being diverted around the soccer field, so I walked around there and discovered a color station where runners ran between a double row of volunteers shooting colored liquid on them out of pump guns that they refilled from big ten gallon plastic buckets.


This was obviously some serious fun, so I took up a position next to a pro photographer and just had an exhilarating time photographing runners coming through the color station. These were such beautiful faces, radiant with fun and joie d’ vivre.


Runners start out as clean as newborn babes, and throughout the run, volunteers coat them with liquids, powders, and gels of blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow until faces, shirts, and bodies come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippie on the other side. Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to each person’s clean, painter’s palette until everyone crosses the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color.

When my arms wouldn’t hold up the camera any longer (even the pro finally sat down on the grass and braced his arms on his knees), I crossed over the Willamette River on the Greenway Pedestrian Bridge to Valley River Mall where an open tunnel of arching orange inflatable tubes, huge ones, created another color station where runners were pummeled with bright orange dust. It looked like a dinosaur dig in a wind storm on the Gobi Desert.



An enormoid crowd swirled in front of a stage where the hyper-kinetic MC staged a Twinkie-eating contest and a marshmallow stuffing contest. He got music thumping and yelled, “Dance! Dance! Dance” and the crowd danced up and down, and then “Clap! Clap! Clap!” The crowd responded enthusiastically, clapping dust drenched hands in the hair, reaching out for the color bomb packets being thrown out over their heads.


People tore the packets open and poured powder into each other’s hands, all the while jumping to the beat and the shouting of the MC. He started a countdown and the whole action crescendoed when everybody threw colored dust in the air at once.


The effect was explosively joyous and colorful. What I loved about this event is that so many people from my Rainbow City were out having so much fun together. I loved the faces, the ecstatic expressions, and the fantastic effects of the color and the light.



And why, yes, there IS a video!

6 Replies to “Color Me Rad”

  1. What a hoot! Looks like the runners were having a blast…getting all that color out afterwards might have been a bit of a challenge, not to mention the mess in one’s bathroom…all for a good cause, I presume. We all need moments of sheer foolish joy in our lives..thanks!

  2. Wow, now this is one Eugene style event! Very well shot I might say. I felt like I was there! Over the top fun, unique shots. You caught the excitement and I especially like the shots of children. And the crowd shots in the video, took me right there! Thanks!

  3. What a joyous reminder, sweet and true! I miss Eugene, but your video and story bring back all those memories . . . shades of San Francisco as well. There’s hope yet.

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