Date: Mar 22, 2021, 8:16 AM

44th Annual SHMD Event to Take Place at The Great Escape

For forty-three years the South High Marathon Dance (SHMD) has taken place in a gymnasium at the South Glens Falls Senior High School. This annual event is the pinnacle of months’ worth of tireless efforts raising hope and funds for recipients - individuals, families and charitable organizations in the area who are experiencing monetary hardship or emotional distress due to life-changing serious, long-term medical or sudden catastrophic events. Conducting an annual event in a show of community strength and emotional support to those individuals and organizations, as well as to mark the culmination of receiving contributions from the public and other donors, is essential to support the recipients and recognize the students’ efforts. Six Flags Great Escape Resort has long supported the South High Marathon Dance through generous donations of funds and resources. Three years ago, SHMD ramped-up security by implementing screening procedures for all persons entering the building. The Great Escape willingly has loaned SHMD thousands of dollars in metal detection equipment to enhance the safety of the event annually since 2018. The fact The Great Escape has opened their gates to SHMD to conduct the 44th annual event on their property is not surprising.

Many Options Evaluated, Public Health at Forefront to Move Location

Since October 2020 Marathon Dance organizers have discussed various options of what SHMD 2021 could look like and where it might be. In January 2021 a ThoughtExchange captured a significant number of ideas from hundreds of students, alumni, and members of the community on their thoughts of the 44th annual event. In February and March committee members assessed many options for feasibility, conducted further research and evaluation, and reached out to partner organizations to refine the possibilities. Narrowing down the options to just a few, conducting the event in a large outdoor environment with large existing structures for cover already in place, coupled with New York State announcing the opening of amusement parks, lead SHMD to The Great Escape. Space limitations within an indoor environment, indoor air as compared to outdoor air, challenges associated with arranging sufficient outdoor tent covering, and lack of ability to have all participants on the same footprint simultaneously, contributed to the decision to move the event away from the Senior High School.

Single Day Private Event to Take Place on Friday, April 30, 2021

Previously scheduled for the first full weekend in March, in October 2020 organizers moved to push the annual Marathon Dance event back two months in order to provide more time for COVID-19 restrictions to relax, as well as SHMD to adapt to the current environment and hope for warmer weather. Unlike the traditional Marathon Dance event which goes for 28-hours, the 44th annual event shall commence on the morning of Friday, April 30, 2021 and will end later that evening. The decision associated with no overnight event reduces participant and staff fatigue and weakened immune systems. While primary event activity will take place under four large pavilions and catering building in the North Woods Picnic Grove, SHMD will have exclusive use of The Great Escape. The Park will not be

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open to the public and will work collaboratively with event organizers in the upcoming weeks to create a dynamic program and schedule. In the early years of the Marathon Dance the event was not open to the public. Unlike the early years however, SHMD 2021 will integrate a live broadcast to bring the spirit of SHMD beyond the physical boundaries of the event to supporters near and far.

Public Health and Safety Measures in Place

The South High Marathon Dance continues to work in partnership with the South Glens Falls Central School District, The Great Escape, Warren County, and others to ensure event plans meet or exceed minimum public health requirements. The spacious property associated with The Great Escape, coupled with SHMD’s exclusive use, provides flexibility to enable adequate distancing to ensure compliance with public health requirements and allow various opportunities for the program to take place throughout the park. Attendees have signed up to participate in this year’s Marathon Dance banded together in small classroom-like groups to help facilitate contact tracing; they will move within the park and participate in activities with the same persons throughout the entirety of the event. Prior to being granted entry into the park, all attendees and event staff will be required to receive a negative diagnostic test result for COVID-19 no greater than 72 hours prior to the event. Additional public health practices include social distancing, mask-wearing, all personal protective equipment and precautions as taken during a regular school day, and COVID-19 screening of anyone entering park property, to name a few. Plans for the event are subject to change based on future state and local public health guidance and requirements.

We appreciate your continued support of the South High Marathon Dance as we evolve and adapt to these historical times. Please be sure to visit the Marathon Dance’s website at, follow us on Facebook, Twitter @shmdnow, or Instagram @shmdnow for additional information as we approach the 2021 Marathon Dance!

South High Marathon Dance Co-Advisor Tom Myott said,

South Glens Falls Central School District Superintendent Kristine Orr said,

Six Flags Great Escape Resort President Rebecca Wood said,

with Six Flags Great Escape for SHMD 2021. They are an amazing organization and have been more than

The South High Marathon Dance is thrilled to partner

accommodating to work with. They will assist us in continuing our mission to help community members in need.”

"We are thrilled that our students will

be able to participate in SHMD this year, in partnership with The Great Escape. As you know, safety has been a key

aspect of every decision we've made as a district this year, and it has also been a priority with Marathon. This is an

important, community-building event and we're excited it will be happening! We can't wait!"

amazing cause and provide our park as the location for a safe, memorable and fun marathon dance experience this year. This is a staple event for our community and our team could not be more excited to support the Bulldog family as they work hard to make a difference despite the challenges this pandemic has presented. We are honored to kick

“We are incredibly proud to come together for this

off the 2021 season at The Great Escape by partnering with SHMD.”

Warren County Director of Public Health Ginelle Jones said, “We are ecstatic that this iconic event that has provided so much for so many people can go forward this year. We have reviewed the event plans to abide by current New York State gathering guidelines and found them to be well thought out and in the interest of health and safety of all involved.”

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 59 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit

About Six Flags Great Escape Resort

Six Flags Great Escape Resort is the quintessential location to play, stay and get-away. This unique family vacation features a 200-suite Adirondack-themed lodge with an indoor waterpark, and The Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor offers over 135 rides, shows and attractions, including an outdoor waterpark. The Great Escape theme park features thrilling coasters like the Comet, family-friendly kids’ areas and hours of fun for everyone.