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Going outdoors to put others indoors

"We've been sitting around the campfire for many years wondering, what might that constellation be?" said Condon. "It really is a family event."

Participants fundraise beforehand, and there are also area businesses that chip in by way of donations or by providing meals and other supplies for campers. The money the event raises varies from year-to-year, but over its 17-year history the Tent-a-Thon has brought in enough money to build four houses.

The Tent-a-Thon is a unique event for an organization that relies on donations or money and work to operate.

"The Tent-a-Thon has played a vital role in the history of Capital District Habitat for Humanity," said Executive Director Paul Richer. "For a week, we have a visual reminder that many of our neighbors in the Capital District do not have safe and affordable housing."

Like many public use parks, Tawasentha normally closes at dusk. The Tent-a-Thon is the exception to the rule, but it wasn't always that way.

"McKownville Methodist Church began this sleeping in the parking lot in the back of the church," Condon said. "They moved out to Tawasentha Park, and the park has been able to allow this fundraising event to go on since."

While the area's Methodist churches don't directly organize the event any longer, they are still very much involved and usually drive an impressible donation effort, said Condon.

For more information or to register, visit www.capitaldistricthabitat.org.""

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