West Deer Community Days emphasizes ‘community’
Jaeden Miller hesitated Saturday afternoon when he first stepped onto a trampoline and donned a bungee harness at Bairdford Park.
After a few tentative little hops, 4-year-old Miller was soon leaping higher than his mother’s head, loudly proclaiming his bungee-assisted jumps more fun than a video game.
That’s exactly what West Deer’s Community Days are all about, township Supervisor Beverly Jordan said.
“This event is completely focused on our community,” said Jordan, who oversees the township’s Parks and Recreation Board. “It’s really a big benefit for our local nonprofits and children’s groups, and it’s a lot of fun and a really big hit with the kids.”
Entering it’s 12th year, the two-day free event exclusively features local vendors.
It aims to help area nonprofit organizations raise funds and allows them to meet the community through raffle or food sales and presentations, Jordan said.
“So, like, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and the girls soccer team, this helps raise money directly for their organizations, but the entire thing is put together by the township,” Jordan said. “It’s just a good way for our residents to come together and get to know their community.”
Attendees were greeted by the splash of a dunk tank and happy shouts of kids jumping and sliding on inflatable equipment. A parade Friday night was followed by a 5K early Saturday, with fireworks planned to close the event.
On any given year the event draws over several thousand participants, according to Supervisor Chairwoman Shirley Hollibaugh, and is staffed entirely by a small army of volunteers.
“I think it says something about our community,” Hollibaugh said. “This is important.”
Jaeden’s mother, Tammy Miller, of Richland said she heard about the event through Facebook, and it seemed like a good way to spend a Saturday.
“How does a parent say ‘no’ to ‘free’?” Miller asked. “This is definitely better than sitting in the house all day playing (video) games. Hopefully he runs around and jumps around enough to go to bed when he’s supposed to.”
This year’s Community Days was punctuated by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new playground at Bairdford Park. That playground, according to Jordan, includes features designed for children with both physical and mental challenges.
“I think what makes West Deer unique ... is that I think we care about everybody in this community,” she said. “This park represents that.”