A Day in Vincent’s Park

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

Going through pictures this week caused me to reflect on an event called Vincent in the Park that took place at the end of July.

The event has evolved over the years. Initially held in mid-morning, it moved last year to late afternoon and evening and became a hit. The fireworks at the end of last year’s event were the talk of the town, and surely inspired this year’s growth in attendance and vendor participation.  Of course, live music is always a big draw.

The food choices this year ran the gamut from funnel cakes and boiled peanuts to fried fish and smoked pork shoulders. There were tacos, hamburgers and hot dogs, barbecue, corn on the cob, fresh squeezed lemonade, shaved ice and ice cream.

This might sound like a typical festival to you. In some ways, it was.

However, in reflection, this was a special event. The level of participation from the overwhelming variety of people was noticeable and impressionable. There were residents and visitors from neighboring communities, males and females, black folks and white folks, and the young and the further-up-in-age folks. There was participation by most churches in the community in one way or another. Some churches were vendors, and some just gathered in groups on the field, wearing church logo shirts, enjoying the music and entertainment of the day together.

The Revival Center members helped with parking for the event. Kudos to their involvement.  With a conservative estimate of 1,200 attending, their assistance was a blessing. A volunteer fireman assisted with getting people to and from their vehicles via a golf cart, their gratitude evident by their smiles.

The JROTC from the middle high school were a unit of worker bees, or “Yellow Jackets,” buzzing around doing whatever the organizer of the event, council member Bridgette Jordan-Smith, asked them to do. The students did everything from check-in vendors to put up and take down tents, chairs and tables.

The most impressionable part of the day was how back-to-basics it was. The event kicked off by thanking sponsors and introducing city leaders. Then, a respectful quiet for opening prayer followed by the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

Then, praise music amplified through the speakers. The crowd sitting in the bleachers and on lawn chairs and blankets covering the grassed area between the walking track fully engaged in reaction to the musical entertainment.

Later, the band put on a great show for the crowd and the trackless train made its constant trip around the walking track packed with mostly adults and teens.

This all-American evening ended with an impressive fireworks show.

The city of Vincent should take pride in this event. This day was a reminder of the value of community involvement and fellowship; the beauty in life when we truly live in harmony with one another.

Mark your calendar for July 27, 2019.