It was an awesome day on Saturday at Thomas Centennial Park in Chesterton as the Duneland Chamber of Commerce threw its 12th annual Party in the Park- a fun event for the whole family where businesses and community organizations reached out to the community.
Beth Luncsford, the marketing director for the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, coordinated planning for the event, which welcomed hundreds of people for one of the last weekends of summer before kids go back to school.
“We believe that our community is unique and special,” said Luncsford, “We want to provide an event where businesses can give back and interact with the families here.”
The event invited community members to come out and see the human faces of the Duneland community businesses and organizations, with groups such as Reins of Life, Expansion and Road to Life Churches, and the YMCA present to reach out to the community.
“It’s nice to provide a face to associate with our local businesses,” Luncsford said, “The community is wonderful because of the people that live and do business in it.”
Attractions at the event included two bounce houses provided by Road to Life Church, a dunk tank, and live music. Also present were giant inflatable balls that children could wear like a vest and bounce off of each other while playing soccer.
Maura Durham, President of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, was present and even volunteered to man the dunk tank.
“We see about a thousand community members come out to visit our members,” said Durham of the event. “They merge business and community at this event, because we give businesses the opportunity to really showcase their brand and their businesses in a way that they normally wouldn’t.”
One Chamber member present, Girls on the Run, strives to inspire girls 3rd through 8th grade to be healthy and confident using exercise.
“We like to get our name out there,” said Jodi Aurand, Program Director at Girls on the Run, “We want to become a household name. That’s why we come to events like this- so the community knows that we exist and what we do.”
The Duneland Family YMCA was present as well. Lucia Dolk, Membership Assistant at the Y, was providing information to community members about their membership and youth programs.
“This brings the community together,” Dolk said, “It gets the youth out to see what’s out here and playing games.”
Families could sit on the grass and enjoy concessions ranging from shaved ice from the Kona Ice Truck to Fried mini donuts. Others could be seen dancing or watching their children play any of the numerous games present, including cornhole and basketball.
Expansion Church of Chesterton provided not only the cornhole, but an interesting and thought-provoking art project for kidsbased on their recent “Art Camp” inspired by World War II-era sculptor Louise Nevelson, a Russian refugee that came to the US to pursue their art.
“[It’s important to be here] just to be a part of the life of the community, to show that we’re not just simply trying to say ‘Hey, we want you to discover God, Life and Purpose,’ but to really say ‘We’re in this together, so we’re going to hang out and do life together,’” said Tom Cochran, the Lead Pastor at Expansion Church.
Expansion Church was only one of the various community organizations present at the community outreach event, each one providing a fun and exciting activity to engage with the public. And even though the event is going on its 12th year, expect to see more of this event for years to come.
“The essence has, and always will, stay the same,” Beth Luncsford said, “A fun, free event for the community to enjoy.”
For more info on the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, visit http://www.dunelandchamber.org/