If you’re in town Sunday afternoon, May 6, don’t be alarmed if a group of people around you suddenly burst into song or make like it’s Swan Lake on Main Street. They haven’t lost their minds: they’re just participants in the first ever “Saugerties Wacky Ramble,” an unconventional fundraising effort spearheaded by Nancy Donnelly to promote family fun while raising money for local families with seriously ill children.
Participants in the ramble will form teams of four to eight members. Teams will have three hours to visit area merchants in the village and town to perform silly tasks or wacky routines. They’ll receive a map with a list of the participating retailers, but won’t know until they get to the location what the stunt or task will be. It might be a game of leap frog, or duck-duck-goose, or they might be asked to “work it” on the red carpet in an impromptu runway show in front of the new shop in the village, W. Couture. Revolution Bicycles will place two tandem bikes out front, complete with “Toto” in a basket, and teams will ride the bikes as they sing “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”
The teams don’t have to go to all the locations. “They can pick and choose,” says organizer Donnelly. “It’s not a race, it’s a ramble. We don’t want people frantically running around, we want them to enjoy their time together.”
Volunteers will be present at each location to assist, and many events will be on the sidewalks outside businesses. The shop-owners can participate as much or as little as they like in the action.
Each routine accomplished earns the team a point, and onlookers can boost the point total by awarding special coins to the ramblers they find particularly entertaining. The coins will be available at local retailers, 10 for a dollar, and Donnelly’s hope is that people will buy the coins and carry them around to reward the ramblers as they come across them, and that ramblers will vie for the most points. “It’s about your style, your character, and your enthusiasm,” says Donnelly. “If you go in there and you sing with heart or make someone laugh, you get more points.”
Team themes and/or costumes are encouraged. Donnelly’s enthusiasm for the event is evident as she muses over what type of costumes people might show up in. “Charlie’s Angels, maybe? Or superheroes!”
Each team will designate one person in their group as photographer to document the adventure, and the photos prove their participation at the end of the ramble at the after-party. The team with the most points will be the winner, but Donnelly says that the real premise of the day is about creating fun memories with your family.
Too often, she says, we don’t think we have time to have fun as we rush to accomplish everything we think we need to. “But make the time,” says Donnelly. “Make the time. And it’s ok to be silly; the world is too serious sometimes.”