Monday, July 9, 2012

The Boilermaker

Crowd by the stage at the brewery, after party.
Every year, on the second weekend in July, Utica NY hosts the internationally-known and extremely popular Boilermaker road race. There is a walk, a 5k and a 15k, and this year it attracted 16,000 runners to the 15k, making it one of the largest road races in the country. Two of those runners were my dad and sister, who are pictured below.

For Utica, Boilermaker weekend is something to look forward to. Obviously, because of its popularity, it brings in a lot of money, which is easy to figure if you keep in mind that of those 16,000 runners, a significant number are not from central New York, or even the United States. Factor in the spectators and the open-to-the-public after-party hosted by the Saranac brewery, and we're talking a large influx of cash to the local economy.

My dad and sister after finishing the 15k.
Another reason why the Boilermaker is a huge deal is because it gives Utica a chance to show itself off; and for a small rustbelt city in Upstate NY, Utica has a lot going on. With the Refugee Center, my mom and I got to help 'show off' by volunteering at the International Mile, where volunteers hold national flags to represent the diverse population of the city (which has been recognized by the UN as "the town that loves refugees", and which hosts an annual film festival on the topic of refugee issues called Unspoken). I had Germany, my mom Belarus. This part of the event is important because the refugee and international population has become a source of pride for Utica, one reason for this being that the sheer number of relocated refugees has replaced the formerly dwindling population (there was a popular bumper sticker in the 1990's that said, "Last one out of Utica, please turn off the lights"). So many people were leaving the area for lack of opportunity, that when a hard-working international population began to revitalize the city, Utica willingly adapted and has flourished ever since.
So all in all, it was a good weekend, and it gave me the chance to learn more about the area, which is cool because I haven't lived here very long! Oh, and the family ran pretty well ;p

Thanks for reading!

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