American Folk Festival brings in 1,700 runners, more than $35,000 in 5K’s colorful debut

Posted April 27, 2014, at 3:52 p.m.
Last modified April 27, 2014, at 5:17 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The first Color Bangor 5K run was a glowing success, according to organizers.

The run, which left participants drenched in clouds of colorful, cornstarch-based powder, brought nearly 1,700 people to the Bangor Waterfront on Saturday and raised more than $35,000 for the American Folk Festival, spokesman Dan Cashman said Sunday. Organizers had hoped to have just 1,000 people participate.

“We just blew that out of the water,” Cashman said. “We’re really happy with where it it ended up.”

Money raised through the event goes directly toward costs of this summer’s American Folk Festival. Year one was such a success that it’s likely the event will be repeated next year, Cashman said.

“I think the excitement will grow even more next year,” he said.

The American Folk Festival organized Color Bangor as a new revenue source to help fund the three-day waterfront event, which relies heavily donations before the event and optional contributions collected by the Bucket Brigade during the festival.

Donations had dipped in recent years, sometimes due hard financial times for company donors and attendees, and sometimes due to poor weather. In 2011, a severe storm forced the cancellation of an entire day of the festival and put it into debt with the city.

The Folk Festival has seen a steady recovery since those hardships, finishing the past two seasons with small profits.

“Color Bangor was everything we had hoped it would be,” festival Executive Director Heather McCarthy said Sunday. “It was fun, it brought together the community, it was full of energy, and we saw nothing but happy, colorful faces. While we’re already looking forward to doing it again next year, we’re also extremely excited about what we have on tap for this year’s American Folk Festival in August, and we will be announcing more artists for the festival sometime within the next week.”

This year’s festival is scheduled for Aug. 22-24.