Kathy Vinyard from the mayor’s office organizes the event every
year which took place this past Thursday. She said that Ray White
Park was chosen this year partly because of the work His Hands
Outreach has been doing at the park this past year. The ministry has
helped with the neighborhood garden and shares lunch in the park on
Vinyard coordinated the evening with Troy Turner from the Outreach
group, and many from His Hands were there to help with lots of kid’s
The Lincoln Police Department served grilled hotdogs, along with
chips and soda; while the city clerk’s office provided a variety of
desserts to the many families that came out for the event.
Children had a chance to sit behind the wheel of such heavy
equipment as a dump truck with a plow, a wheel loader, and a Humvee.
They were also able to get in a police car and fire truck and assist
firemen with extinguishing a fire in a portable house. Honking the
horns on the vehicles appeared to be one of the most enjoyable parts
of the experience for many of the children.
His Hands Outreach hosted crafts, games, and face painting. At the
basketball court with its brand new basketball hoop installed by the
group, children were able to participate in a basketball long shot.
Nearby, younger children could play ball toss, throwing the balls in
a cardboard cutout of a clown. At the craft table, children were
able to color a picture with the superman logo that said “Jesus, the
only real superhero,” and hang it up to display by the swings. They
could also make beaded bracelets and necklaces. The children also
had an opportunity to participate in a sidewalk chalk art
competition. Each child who participated in the crafts and games
chose a prize such as a yoyo, ring, or wacky glasses. Toward the end
of the evening, Turner drew raffle tickets and the five children
whose names were drawn won either superhero posters or a ball.
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Throughout the evening, many children lined up at
the face painting area with close to 50 children getting their faces
painted. Maritta Robinson, who did some of the face painting, said,
“I got to talk to so many little kids who were so excited to get
[their faces] painted. . .[and] it was so fun to watch their
expressions when they got to look in the mirror. She said many
responded by exclaiming, “Cool, neat, sweet, or it is pretty.”
Robinson noted that many of the little girls requested butterflies,
while the boys often wanted dinosaurs, spiders, or spider webs.
City Clerk Susan Gehlbach said that she also enjoys doing this event
and loves seeing all the children having fun. She commented that the
weather this year was definitely nicer than last year’s event when
they had to finish early due to the pouring rain.
City office holders and department heads, along with His Hands
Outreach ministers, joined the neighborhood residents in what could
definitely be described in the Sunday funnies as one big energetic
“Family Circus” like event.
As dark was descending, Mayor Keith Snyder looked out over the large
crowd of neighbors still visiting and enjoying the warm evening,
youngsters playing everywhere; he lit up and said, “I think this is
the biggest crowd I’ve seen come out for Community Night yet. This
Many local citizens came out and enjoyed the 2014 Community Night at
the Park on a splendid fall evening.