After the success of last year’s Raiderfest, South Colonie’s iCARE students are preparing for the second, which will include more activities and events than the last.
The second annual Raiderfest will kick off at Colonie Central High School this Saturday, May 30, with a Youth Lacrosse Jamboree at 9:30 a.m. before the 5K race. Proceeds will once again go toward the American Cancer Society (ACS). The event comes after last year’s successful Raiderfest, where nearly $15,000 were raised by the hundreds of people that attended.
“It started from a small little thought of, we need to do a community event to get the whole community together,” said John Cogan, the high school’s iCARE president.
The iCARE team, which stands for Integrity, Community, Accountability, Respect and Empathy, works to bring students and the community together, which is how the idea of Raiderfest came about last year. With the help of school officials and groups like the Special Education Parent Teacher Association, the community-wide event became a reality.
“We all work together to impact what is happening in the world, not just what is happening in the school,” said Cogan. “It shows how Colonie Central High School helps the community be the best that it can be.”
The students began working on this year’s event almost the minute last year’s ended. They had a meeting June 2 of last year to go over the feedback from Raiderfest, then used those critiques to plan things out for the next.
Like last year, people can expect the 5K, a Relay for Life commencing at 5 p.m., carnival games, craft vendors and wellness expo vendors. Food trucks from local eateries, face paining, balloon animals and bounce houses will also be there to celebrate the day.
With feedback from last year, the iCARE team decided to reorganize the events with the carnival isolated and more events for the younger attendees. A kid-oriented section will be separated from other activities and headed by school officials, so parents could have the chance to peruse the craft vendors while their kids play.
Colonie High School Associate Principal Thomas Kachadurian said that there will be a 5K geared specifically for students in kindergarten through eighth grades, obstacles, a skills competition, and other events. Physical education instructors will also overlook the activities, so parents would not have to worry about safety.
“It shrinks our community down” for those students, who will eventually end up at the high school, said Kachadurian. “So it’s not such an intimidating place.”
Several new activities will also be available throughout the day, like laser tag and a kick ball tournament. An 18-hole miniature golf course will take up the track and was built and designed entirely by students.
“Someone brought it up at one of the meetings, and we thought it was kind of a joke to start off with,” said Cogan of the mini golf course. But then they decided it was a good activity to add to the day.
The kickball game, from 3:45 to 5 p.m., will consist of nine innings and be separated into 15 students, headed by Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, and 15 faculty members, headed by Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. The proceeds from the game will get donated to the ACS in the winning team’s name.
At 4 p.m., the day will segue from the carnival actives into preparations for the Relay for Life and Luminaria ceremony, which will mark the finale of Raiderfest at around 10 p.m. A “Motorcycle Cruise-In” will mark the transition with motorcyclists rallying in the track circle to benefit the ACS. During the evening, Flight, a trampoline park that recently opened in Colonie, will host activities.
Like last year, hundreds of student volunteers will be in attendance throughout the day, helping with activities, vendors and kids events, this year wearing bright pink volunteer shirts. Cogan said he was excited to see the students working together for the community.
May Wang, iCARE vice president, agreed. “Just seeing the excitement now through the hallways. They can’t wait to be out there on campus the day of. This is all just work that everyone wants to put into a cause,” she said.
Kachadurian said the event reminded him of old Americana and the ideal that it takes a village to raise a child. “Without our heads down with electronic devices, we’re having conversations,” he said.
Cogan said that last year it was a rare sight to see anyone on their cell phones, except to take selfies. Mostly, he said, people were talking with each other and enjoying the day.
For more information on Raiderfest, including a full schedule of events, go to www.raiderfest.org.