Saturday morning promises to bring a colorful blast of fun to the Horse Heaven Event Center at the fairgrounds in Kennewick.
Nearly 4,000 people have signed up for the Run or Dye 5K walk/run, in which participants are pelted with handfuls of colorful, washable dyes by spectators as they navigate the course. They're also urged to douse each other.
There's still time to get in on the zany fun. Sign up online --www.runordye.com, click on Tri-Cities -- or go to the fairgrounds Friday, July 12, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to register. Cost is $50 per team of four or $55 per person. A portion of the profits will go to YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities.
"If anyone wants to volunteer, we could use some extra hands," said YMCA director Steve Howland. Contact the Y at www.ymcatricities.org or call 374-1908.
Run Or Dye events are hosted by Viral Events, a Salt Lake City company which began holding them in March in cities across the nation. Since then, Viral Events has put on 12 runs.
The Tri-City course is laid out around the rodeo arena and through the horse barns, 4-H and camping areas.
Sara Hallman, event coordinator for the center, isn't worried that the fairgrounds will be permanently rainbow-colored. Viral Events had to submit a 10-page cleanup plan before signing a contract.
"They've promised to bring in street sweepers and water trucks," Hallman said.
"The dyes are cornstarch based," said Katie Langston, content development director for Viral Events. "So it should wash out, but I wouldn't wear my best white shorts."
Registration packets -- including a packet of dye -- will be handed out from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and before the race on Saturday.
Saturday check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon and the grounds close at 12:30 p.m.
There's no admission charge for spectators who want to watch but not join in on the colorful fun. The entire course is visible from the grandstands, Hallman said.
Viral Events will sell extra packs of dye and other merchandise. There will be a variety of food vendors. A dance begins at 9:30 a.m.
"During the dance, we'll be tie-dyeing the sky -- tossing dye up into the air -- every 20 to 30 minutes," Langston said.
The inspiration for Run Or Dye has its roots in ancient India in the Hindu festival of Holi, in which participants toss naturally colored powders on each other as a symbol of health and wellness, Langston said. It's been practiced since at least 300 B.C.
The Hindu temple in Spanish Fork, Utah, close to Viral Events' hometown, holds a Holi fest every year which attracts thousands, Langston said.
"Our motto is live life full of color, and we hope everyone who comes has a great time," she said. "We want to inspire people to step out of their day-to-day grind and embrace life."
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; email@example.com