SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Last year, South Glens Falls High School had to make a careful decision. It was the first year that the annual South High Marathon Dance would have to grapple with requirements and safety measures pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, after 2020’s dance was held just before the outset of the pandemic. This year, they’re making similar decisions to 2021.

On Tuesday, dance organizers announced that the 2022 fundraiser dance would be held at Six Flags Great Escape for a second year in a row, utilizing outdoor space at the park’s Northwest Picnic Grove. The park loaned space under large picnic pavilions in its event space for use by the dance last year.

The 45th annual dance now has a date, too. In order to use outdoor space within the amusement park without freezing anyone’s shoes off, the South High Marathon Dance is set to return on Friday, May 13. Like last year, the dance will begin that morning and end that evening. Before 2021, it ran overnight between two days.

“The South High Marathon Dance is so appreciative of Six Flags Great Escape’s offer to again host SHMD this May,” said dance co-advisor Tom Myott. “Six Flags Great Escape has been a longtime supporter of SHMD, and following the success of last year’s event (the first-ever held away from the South Glens Falls High School), we are looking forward to this year’s marathon dance. With great assistance from our partners at Six Flags Great Escape, SHMD will again be able to help organizations and people in need in our community.”

Every year, the South High Marathon Dance raises money for individuals and groups fighting debilitating illnesses in the greater Glens Falls region and beyond. Last year, the dance raised $506,013.31 in donated funds for 24 beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries are chosen by a board of students who help organize, theme and set up the dance every year. Nominations for this year’s dance were taken at the end of last year.

The move out of the South High auditorium came when health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic made indoor spaces less suitable for a large crowd of people. In a pre-pandemic year, the auditorium would be stuffed full of South High students dancing and performing, with beneficiaries and families on the bleachers. Last year, dancers performed in smaller groups, socially distanced across outdoor pavilions. The dance was closed to the public, but was livestreamed.

Rules revolving around face mask use and vaccination requirements have yet to be set. As of Tuesday, schools in New York are still required to keep students masked by state mandate, which has been lifted for many other business types. That mandate will be up for evaluation in March.

Although last year was the first time The Great Escape hosted the dance, it was not the first time the park and the school partnered together. The park has loaned thousands of dollars worth of metal detection equipment to the dance for safety purposes since 2018.

“We are incredibly honored to host this annual fundraiser at our theme park as a safe location for an unforgettable, non-stop dance experience,” said Six Flags Great Escape Resort President Rebecca Wood. “This is a cherished event for our community, and our team could not be more ready to do anything we can to support this amazing cause. After seeing the hard work that goes into pulling off
this monumental event last year, we are proud to offer our property as a location and assist the Marathon Dance team pull off this incredible feat.”

The dance is an annual local powerhouse in raising community funds to help fight cancer and other conditions. At the same time, the event itself relies on donations, fundraisers and community goodwill to go off. Last year, the Glens Falls Shirt Factory hosted a food truck event during the dance, with all proceeds going back to the dance itself. A list of ways to support this year’s dance is set to be released at some point in the coming weeks.