GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Friday evening, you could get a half chicken, cornbread and mashed potatoes – or homemade donuts and cupcakes – or wood-fired brick oven pizza – and enjoy it while supporting an annual charity effort that changes countless local lives. Not a bad deal.

From 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, the Glens Falls Shirt Factory held its second annual food truck corral in support of the South High Marathon Dance, running concurrently with the 45th annual dance itself. Around a dozen local and regional restaurants had trucks and tables outside on the hot Friday to serve up a homemade dinner service, with a portion of all profits going to the dance.

While the food trucks set up shop on the lawn of the Shirt Factory, South High students were hours into an al-day dance for charity hosted at the Six Flags Great Escape park in Lake George. It was the dance’s second year in a row at the park – and a sunnier visit than students got in 2021. In both years, the move was a choice made to lessen COVID-19 social distancing concerns. In 2020, the dance was held just weeks before the pandemic caused shutdowns.

It’s the second year building owner Eric Unkauf has amassed his list of local restaurant connections for the SHMD cause. The event started off when the dance first went remote in 2021, as a way to give the community a place to gather while the dance itself was remote. Food truck corrals have been a summertime tradition at the building since 2018, first initiated as a way to connect more of the community to the nearly 100 artists and shops that operate at the building at the corner of Lawrence and Cooper streets. The result? Two communities crossing paths.

“It’s a whole new group of people coming to check us out, because you’ve got the people who live around the Shirt Factory that come here on Thursday nights for their food trucks,” said Trish Myott, a teacher at South Glens Falls’ Harrison Avenue Elementary School. “We’re seeing more people than we would normally see over at South Glens Falls at the dance on the weekend.”

Myott’s job was especially important this year. She spoke as fellow SHMD volunteers operated a marathon merchandise shop out of a first-floor space in the gallery that her husband, fellow teacher Tom Myott, uses as an art studio.

shmd store shirt factory
Shirts and more for sale at the South High Marathon Dance’s store inside the Glens Falls Shirt Factory. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

The mountains of shirts, hats and other SHMD-themed gear is from more than just this year. In 2021, an online store was created to sell gear in support of the dance, to minimize person-to-person contact amid coronavirus concerns. The portion of the dance’s funds that come from merchandise sales is small in comparison to the six-figure total – over $500K in 2021 – it’s still a crucial part of the spirit-building that brings the South Glens Falls community together.

“We’re doing this because we love what we do,” said Myott. “We love our recipients. That’s what it’s all about.”

This year, the dance has 28 recipients – some families, some organizations – all fighting debilitating illnesses. The fundraising process is practically a year-long effort. Next year, Myott expects that the dance itself will move back to the South High gymnasium, but says that satellite pop-up events like what the Shirt Factory provides have proven important in reaching more people in more places.

The full list of food vendors at the Shirt Factory includes:

  • Mean Max: Craft Beer
  • Bella Lynn’s Bakery: Cupcakes, Baked Goods
  • Vashti’s: Caribbean American Food
  • Worldlings Pleasure: Mini Cheesecakes, Cheese spreads
  • Farmacy: BBQ chicken
  • Pies on Wheels: Wood Fired Pizza
  • Creative Caterers: Sausage, Hot Dogs, Quesadillas, Taco Salad
  • Koko Chariot: Beignets, Frozen Hot Chocolate, Funnel Cakes, Frozen Drinks
  • Adirondack Olykoeks: Fresh Hot Mini-Donuts
  • Missy’s Rings & Things: Wire wrapped stone, seashell and glass bead jewelry
  • Smoothie Shoppe: Freshly Made Smoothies
  • Hick’s Orchard: Cider and donuts