PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College celebrated its anniversary with a bash for the community on Saturday.

They celebrated 65 years and the entire Gulf Coast community was happy to finally celebrate the milestone in person.

The day began with a 5K run and a fun walk. All of the money raised from the run will be donated back to the Gulf Coast Scholarship Program, which supports high schoolers in Franklin, Bay and Gulf counties.

Event organizers said the turnout was better than anticipated.

“Given that this is only our first run, I think we’ve had a great outcome, we’ve reached our goal of 50 and we’ve exceeded that,” Executive Assistant Erin Keel said. “I think we have 61-62 runners today.”

Keel said her team only had 50 days to plan the event.

“It was a tight timeline but we had a great team and we all stuck to the timeline and we got things done, so, it feels really good to exceed our goal,” Keel said.

As runners completed the race, they got a taste of the school’s history.

“The route will go around campus and you’ll see just different things around campus collaborating with the 65th anniversary,” Keel explained.

Once runners crossed the finish line, the celebration continued with a party to reflect on the last 65 years.

“Today is our 65th anniversary here at Gulf Coast State College and to celebrate we are hosting a big community event,” GCSC Director of Marketing and Communications Brittany Weisensale said. “We have all sorts of vendors, and we have our programs and envisions present. We’re just having a nice free event for the community to come out and enjoy.”

In the past, Gulf Coast has held events for the birthdays marking a new decade, but this celebration couldn’t wait another five years.

“Everything that has happened with the hurricane and the pandemic we really wanted to go ahead and just lay into this 65th anniversary and get everyone back on campus, let them come re-engage with us and we can engage with them,” Weisensale said. “They can see that we are still here and still are happy to serve.”

Weisensale said the turnout made all of the planning worth it.

Gulf Coast State College ended the celebrations with a comedy show on Saturday night.