Participants in the 2012 Warrensburg Marathon Dance show their enthusiasm.
For two years, local students have annually held a night-long celebration of life, music, and outreach to others known as the Warrensburg High School Marathon Dance.
The annual event follows the tradition of the South Glens Falls High School Marathon Dance that's raised $3.15 million for various charities in its 35+ years of existence.
This past year, South Glens Falls students rocked the house as they filled their gym and raised $395,352 from sponsors throughout the region.
The Marathon Dance of Warrensburg High, with the school’s smaller enrollment and remote location, is held on an entirely different scale — yet the enthusiasm of students and community members is unsurpassed.
The Warrensburg’s 2013 Marathon Dance, in which students raise money through sponsorships, is set for noon until midnight Saturday Jan. 12 in the high school gymnasium.
The event features a raffle of gift baskets, gift certificates and such offerings as golf and ski packages.
The public is welcome to come to the marathon event from noon to 8 a.m. and review the array of raffle packages on display in the high school cafeteria. The drawing for the raffle items will be held at 8 p.m., but it is not necessary to be present to win.
The dance is open to students in grades six through 12 who sign up in advance. Sixth graders must have a permission slip, and an adult must accompany them at the event.
Students from other schools may attend — as guests of WCS students — as long as they have a permission slip from a school authority and a parent.
To participate, students in grades seven through 12 must have $50 in sponsorships or donations. For sixth graders, the amount is $25, Event advisor Marlene DeLongis said, acknowledging that although many people are facing economic stresses, the Warrensburg marathon attendees will be meeting the challenge of fundraising.
“We know times are tough, but it’s important to continue because there are a lot of people who need help, including those with medical issues,” she said. “We’ve asked the kids to be creative in their fundraising.”
The top fundraisers among the students will win prizes. All those participating receive a WCS Marathon Dance T-shirt, designed by a team of high school art students.
Andy Pratt of Bolton, noted for how he inspires a crowd, will be returning as deejay for this year's marathon. Students will be encouraged to participate in air-band competitions, relays and games. The youths will also have the opportunity to take amusing self-portraits in a concession provided by Saratoga Photobooth.
The charities to receive help this year — whether they are organizations or individuals — hadn’t been chosen as of Jan. 1.
A committee of students will be making that decision by the end of this week, DeLongis said.
About 110 students, most from Warrensburg High, have signed up for the event, DeLongis said, remarking that the students and adults planning the event are impressed already with the generosity of area businesses, who have donated cash as well as goods and services for the auctions and raffles.
DeLongis said the marathon dance offered vital life-lessons to the students.
"It’s a good opportunity for our kids kids to learn about giving back and doing good things for their community,” she said.
Anyone in the community who wishes to make a monetary donation to the marathon can mail a check to Warrensburg Central School, Attn: Darlene Gordon, 103 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885.
Marathon organizers are also looking for donations of bottled water and snacks or baked goods for the marathon dancers.
Donations can be dropped off at the main office at the high school prior to the marathon, or at the cafeteria by noon on Jan. 12, the day of the event.
Anyone seeking to donate a gift basket for the marathon dance raffle should contact Donna Engle at 623-3453. Those with questions are encouraged to contact Marlene DeLongis at 623-4917.