Party in the Park still a success as Community Revite event keeps going strong
By Kelly Terpstra, email@example.com
The tie that binds.
That’s Charles City’s Party in the Park.
The Community Revitalization event was born in 2003 out an effort to bring the community together.
“It’s personal interaction with your friends, neighbors and visitors,” said Mark Wicks, Community Development Director.
The Community Revitalization event is still going strong after its 17th season was put in the books on Friday night in downtown Charles City. Wicks said one of the main reasons PIP has been able to achieve such longevity is the contributions made by its volunteers, sponsors and members of the community.
“There’s a committee of volunteers that does this. They’re the real heroes. They make this possible, because without them it doesn’t happen,” said Wicks.
The event that is held at Central Park on the square in Charles City features food, music and fun for all ages. Several food vendor trucks offered up an array of cuisine to tempt one’s taste buds. There were also plenty of games and inflatable rides for the kids to partake in.
“It’s a formula that works. But at the same time we always try to do something different,” said Wicks.
Friday’s theme was “Country Night.” The northeast Iowa band Wildcard entertained with a mix of old-school country tunes on a beautiful summer evening. Friday’s party offered free line dancing lessons from Double G Line Dancing.
Wicks broke down a little of the history of one of Charles City’s most successful summer gathering events. He said he knew Waterloo threw a Friday night social event in Black Hawk County that was very successful. He said Community Revite patterned Party in the Park somewhat after that model.
The idea was simple.
“Let’s try to have a block party and it just exploded,” said Wicks. “Good ideas happen when you bring people together.”
That first year in 2003, Party in the Park was named “best event” by the Main Street Iowa.
The next year the Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance and 3,000 people participated. Wicks said the average attendance has dropped since its heyday, but the event can still draw a crowd.
“But when you’re still getting 1,200 to 1,500 people in the park, obviously they like it,” said Wicks.
Friday’s party was a makeup date that was rescheduled from a June 21 event that was rained out.
Will there be an 18th season of Party in the Park? Wicks wouldn’t say other than the Community Revite Board reviews and determines the status of the event every year.
“Every year we look at it and say, ‘OK, has it run its course, do we need to alter it?’” said Wicks. “It’s really up to the community.”
Sponsors of Friday’s event were Central Park Dentistry, L & J Industries, Trelleborg Wheel Systems America, Floyd County Farm Bureau and Kwik Star.