It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first park party was hosted by WOTV 4’s Miranda. The popular community event thrives on providing free family fun to children across West Michigan thanks to a slew of participating sponsors. The kids love it. The parents love it. And what’s not to love? It’s free stuff!
Yet more than that, the success of a Miranda Park Party is testament to the community that hosts it. It’s no wonder why the location for the first park party of 2014, kicking off the 20th year, was Lamar Park in Wyoming. Explains Miranda, “We love coming to Wyoming! Your city gets behind us 110 percent – from the parking situation to lost children, the city is ready with the resources to help us pull this party off.”
And this party proved to be a record-breaking size: approximately 8,000 kids came to play bringing their family members along for the fun.
“Even your mayor is here with his grandkids playing – where else can I get that?” she asks, adding, “That’s why when I think of family, I think of Wyoming!”
Although park parties have been happening for 20 years, the City of Wyoming has only been hosting them for the last five according to Eric Tomkins, Wyoming’s Parks and Recreation supervisor. The key to its success?
“Lots and lots of planning,” says Tomkins.
“We get everybody together six months earlier to coordinate and workout the details. This involves parks and rec, public safety, traffic, medical response – even our senior volunteers get involved to watch for lost children.
“The bottom line is safe in, safe out.”
The event on this day involved about 40 city employees, working as busy as bees in the summer heat for the duration of the party and beyond. It was obvious to see that it was quite the orchestration. But is it worth it”Absolutely,” Tomkins states.
“It’s great for the community to have such a good time and the publicity Miranda creates helps the focus be on Wyoming instead of Grand Rapids for a change. We like that!”