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  • Photos by Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette As a band performs, Sydney Smith, 5, left, and Razell Carr, 4, play on the lawn at Saturday’s third annual Summer Community Celebration at McMillen Park.

  • Friends, from left, Earl Moore, Rod Stalling and Dennis Turner enjoy one another’s company during Saturday’s celebration.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette The Sweetwater All-Stars perform for guests Saturday afternoon at McMillen Park. The event featured music, food, vendors and information booths.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette Guests enjoy listening to the Sweetwater All Stars on stage during the 3rd annual Summer Community Celebration at McMillen Park on Saturday August 3, 2019. GALLERY/VIDEO

Sunday, August 04, 2019 1:00 am

Celebration brings people together

Food, music unite community

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Saturday was Andrea Moore’s third time attending the annual Summer Community Celebration at McMillen Park. 

For hours, thousands of community members streamed into the park, setting up chairs and tents near the large stage where bands like the Sweetwater All-Stars, the SOS Band and Zapp! entertained the crowd. Saturday marked the celebration’s third year.

Funky music melded with mouth-watering aromas from food tents and trucks as partygoers relished a day in the sun. Some came with family and friends, others reconnected with people they haven’t seen in a while. For others, like Parkview Health, it was an opportunity to talk about important issues like infant mortality and mental health. 

Moore, who was manning a booth for Paparazzi Accessories, said she volunteered at last year’s Summer Community Celebration, but returned this year as an entrepreneur. She was manning her booth with Darilyn Clark, of She Dazzles Too. 

“This is a great event,” she said. “It’s great to see everybody in the community gathering together and having a good time.”

It’s all about family and friends, Moore said.

Addressing the crowd from the stage, Mayor Tom Henry said the event and its attendees felt “like family.”

“This is really what Fort Wayne truly is all about, getting together like we are,” Henry said. 

County Councilwoman Sharon Tucker was also present for the event, which she said the community has looked forward to all summer. It’s a truly inclusive event, she said. 

“You have families, you have all different nationalities, you have good music and time where people come together,” Tucker said. “There’s no crime, no harm and folks just enjoy each other.”

The celebration represents love and care, she added. 

“It brings us together as a community,” Tucker said. “And here we can have those hard talks about infant mortality, we can have the hard talks about the importance of getting out and voting and people will not be offended by it.” 

Tucker said she encourages people who hear about the celebration to come down and “see what Fort Wayne is really like outside of the four walls of what people always hear about the south side of Fort Wayne.”

“You don’t really see something like this outside of downtown,” Tucker said, beaming. 

dgong@jg.net