May 06, 2013
In the spirit of inclusion, diversity and community, more than 150 Northampton Community College students threw caution-and a lot of paint-to the wind during the first-ever Color Blast Festival on May 4.
The event was organized by the Hospitality Management Club to raise money to travel to the National Restaurant Association Conference in Chicago on May 18-21.
The club won't know how much money was raised until later, according to club member Rebecca Ali, who said the students went through "a lot of paint." One bag was priced at $2.49, while five bags could be purchased for $9.99.
The "paint" was actually a natural, non-toxic powder made of cornstarch, food-grade dyes and fragrance. It's environmentally friendly, too. So don't fret when you see the photo of the colorful pooch in the Flickr gallery.
Although most attendees arrived with a group of friends or family, the kaleidoscopic crowd was ushered-about every hour-to the center of the field near Commonwealth Hall for synchronized color blasts.
How did the crowd know when to begin flinging paint en masse? Paint bazookas, of course.
When not decorating each other, Color Blast attendees could nosh on a variety of foods including Indian-style wraps with homemade potato chips, fried rice and fish with Thai sauce, Cuban sandwiches, sliders and hot dogs, empanadas, snacks from Buffalo Wild Wings, and baked goods.
DJ Mikey G provided the live entertainment.
Events like this weekend's Color Blast Festival are cropping up throughout the country. The new trend is based off an annual celebration in India called the "Holi Festival," or the Festival of Colors.
According to National Geographic, the major Hindu festival is usually held in early March-on the day after the full moon in the of Phalguna-and marks the beginning of spring.
"During the evening of the full moon, bonfires are lit to ward off spirits and to celebrate the victory of good over evil," National Geographic explains. "The following day, people pile into the streets for the beginning of the central Holi ritual-the throwing of colored powders and water."
Other than the paint bazookas, NCC's event didn't stray too far from tradition. An event page for the Color Blast Festival asked students to "throw your cares to the wind and embrace the coming of warm weather and the passing of winter's chill." In addition, the event was marketed as a "celebration of good times and social harmony."
Ali said the Hospitality Management Club was satisfied with the turnout, but admittedly hoped for more. She did say, however, that members of Student Senate and other clubs have expressed interest in jointly hosting a Color Blast Festival in 2014.
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