A sea of green traveled down the streets of Prineville on Sunday afternoon, emitting excited whoops and hollers.
A record crowd of around 600 people participated in the 9th annual Prineville Paddy Pint Run, which began under a cloudy sky in Pioneer Park.
Folks young and old came decked out in their best St. Patrick’s Day attire, and shamrock prints were abundant.
‘Wear green and have fun’ was the instruction given to participants, according to race director Tony Ramos.
“Over the years, people have just slowly developed their own costume, and it changes and improves every year,” he said.
The race, which included a 5K, 10K and a 2 mile run was virtual for the past couple of years due to the pandemic.
Now, just a day after Oregon lifted its indoor mask mandate, the smiles were abundant as participants jogged or strolled with friends and neighbors down the streets.
Most were from Prineville, with many others from elsewhere in Central Oregon. A few people from Alaska, Virginia, New York and Texas even joined in the fun.
“It feels really good to just see all the families, all the faces, people that we’ve missed seeing not just at the race but in the community,” said race director Tony Ramos. “Just seeing everyone back together and having a good time, smiling and celebrating our community.”
Proceeds from the race went to the Tooth Taxi, a local dental office on wheels, and Crook County Foundation.
Ramos said they are eventually hoping to use the event as part of a larger spring festival, which could include a vendor fair, live music, and a bike race.
“We have a lot of pride,” he said. “We really want to show other parts of Central Oregon what Crook County is and what Prineville is, and spring is a really good time to do that.
“Especially with St. Patrick’s day coming up, people are just ready to get out and be more active as the weather improves.”