SKOWHEGAN — Saturday was a real blast — of color.

Lemon yellow, lime green, bright red and blue corn starch splashes showered participants in the United Way of Mid-Maine’s first Color Walk fundraiser Saturday in downtown Skowhegan.

More than 200 runners, walkers, strollers and baby carriages traversed the 1-mile route from the Federated Church on Island Avenue to the other side of the river and back, catching blasts of corn starch color from four color stations along the way.

Walkers sponsored specific causes — food and fuel needs for families, youth homelessness, financial independence and a general Live United Fund in support of families in 57 communities in Somerset, northern Kennebec and western Waldo counties.

“We’re having so much fun,” said Debbie Byrne, of Winslow, the incoming board chairwoman for the United Way, peering from behind dark sunglasses and covered from head to toe in multi-colored, Food and Drug Administration-approved corn starch. “It’s a wonderful way for families to get out and participate and walk on this beautiful day and to raise money to help people to help youth homeless and help people put fuel in their homes. It’s for a great cause and it’s a lot of fun.”

Byrne and 15 team members all wore headbands with the letters “MIHN” — Meeting Immediate Human Needs — the theme of their fundraising efforts.

All proceeds Saturday from pledges and sponsors will benefit one of four causes chosen by the walker, directly affecting the education, income and health of area families, said United Way of Mid-Maine Executive Director Elizabeth Barron.

“There are thousands of low- and moderate-income people and families here in the heart of Maine who are struggling just to stay in place and just can’t seem to get ahead, no matter what,” Barron told an enthusiastic crowd of walkers prior to the event. “United Way of Mid-Maine has programs to help.”

Walkers in their white “Live United” T-shirts got under way just after 10 a.m., trekking across the bridge to Mill Street and the first blast of color, then to the Skowhegan Walking Bridge over the river and another splash — some of the color station attendants using adapted water blasters filled with colored corn starch.

Another team of walkers — ladies dressed in purple tutus and covered in red, green and yellow corn starch before they hit the final blue-blast color station — said they are were walking and raising money in memory of a friend.

Amber Bragg, of Sidney, said the purple was for a high school friend who died of cancer and whose favorite color was purple.

“We wore purple in her honor,” she said, joined by Lesa Bean and Danielle Easler, both of Oakland. “We’re here as Casey’s Crusaders for breast cancer, a United Way charity.

“It’s a blast,” Bragg said, covered in red from the third color-blasting station near Skowhegan Savings Bank. “If we’re going to be colorful, we might as well be colorful all over.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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