GUILDERLAND Three years after the Town of Guilderland held its inaugural Tawasentha Mud Mania race through a muddy obstacle course as a fundraiser for park improvements, it had made enough money to pay for shiny new playground equipment. This year, the race is continuing due to its popularity.
“It is a great community event. It is a big family event on Father’s Day weekend,” said Linda Cure, public relations officer for Guilderland’s parks department. “The town and (the Parks and Recreation Department) really felt it was such a hit we wanted to continue to offer it to the community.”
The playground at Tawasentha Park was about 30 years old when the mud-filled fundraising event was conceived, Cure said. The old equipment needed to be removed and new equipment installed. The first phase was around $100,000 to complete, she said, and the second phase was “significantly less.”
Last year, the Guilderland Town Board approved matching the funds the department raised for the first phase, which helped expedite the process.
In the fall, new playground equipment for 5- to 12-year-olds was installed. That equipment includes climbing features and a slide. The final phase was smaller equipment for 2- to 5-year-olds, which should be completed before July.
Some of the proceeds for this year’s race on Saturday, June 14, held again at Tawasentha Park, will go toward additional park improvement, but this year ARE Event Productions is taking over running the event. The company is already familiar with the run because of its previous involvement.
“In the past, we provided timing, the sound, entertainment and other event equipment,” said Josh Merlis, president of ARE Event Productions. “We are devoting our full resources to really putting as many of the small elements into it.”
Rain or shine, the event will be held, because regardless, everyone participating is going to end up a muddy mess.