The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 14, 2013

Livestock event adding A Dash of Color

By Robb Murray
The Mankato Free Press

---- — The Livestock Music Festival in St. Peter is back. But this year the annual event to raise money to purchase livestock for African villages promises to be more colorful than ever.

The annual 5K run is being transformed into the Color Dash, which falls in line with one of the latest trends in fun runs.

Never heard a color dash?

If not, just know this: Don’t wear a shirt to the color dash that you’re hoping will remain pristine. And if you’ve got a phobia about people throwing powder on you as you run by, you may want to avoid the Livestock 5K this year.

“You’ll get blasted with color along the way,” said Rachel Britz, Livestock board member.

Livestock is a free music festival that runs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 1 in St. Peter’s Minnesota Square Park. The run has been a part of the event since its debut six years ago, and in that time they’ve raised nearly $100,000.

The color dash, though, is a new phase in the evolution of a charitable cause that is doing everything it can to help people an ocean away who, as it turns out, want the same things for their children as Americans want for theirs.

Recently Livestock co-founder Jill Hass and Britz traveled to Sierra Leone with a team of people from World Vision, the organization that facilitates the sending of livestock to poor villages.

“We met Abdul, a 15-year-old boy whose parents died and he is now being cared for by his uncle. His uncle shared with us the impact of receiving a goat and how it has provided a way for Abdul to go to school. These animals are a symbol of prestige,” Hass said. “When the goats reproduce, they can be sold and the money is used to purchase school supplies including books and uniforms. “

Britz said that when they first arrived at the village, the entire village came out to greet them. Abdul’s uncle told them how Abdul’s father had been killed in war, and that his mother died recently. The work and donations of World Vision will allow Abdul to go to school, where he has aspirations of becoming a doctor.

“We came away feeling like it is working, what we’re doing these small token gifts, it’s working,” Britz said.

The color dash run begins at 9 a.m. at the Church of St. Peter. The 5K will take a slightly different route than usual because they wanted to keep the color blasting away from passing or parked cars.

The lineup of musicians to perform at this year’s event include national recording artist Jenny Simmons of Addison Road. There will also be a farmers pantry with an assortment of snack and candy options available for purchase and a world market that will feature ethnic items available for purchase including hand-woven purses and scarves.