The sky over Marion Center last Saturday night was all aglow. The low-lying, rain-threatening – but thankfully just threatening – clouds were saturated with a hazy orange that emanated from the giant bonfire in the middle of the field beside the Town House. Strings of party lights lit up rows of wooden picnic tables from above and shined down onto the grown-ups sipping cocktails with their neighbors and the smiling faces of little kids eating Mr. Shire’s cotton candy at the Annual Marion Town Party. Everyone had a smile – even the bonfire was smiling.
Put on every year by the Marion Recreation Department and the Marion Firefighters Association, the Marion Town Party is a staple of summer in Marion. The Town Party Planning Committee, chaired by Chris Berg, does all the planning and executing for the Town Party, which is an ongoing tradition year after year. The event attracts about 250 people to the Center of Marion for the food, fun, bouncy houses for the kids, rock-climbing wall, games, and, of course, the giant bonfire that tops off the night. Proceeds from the event go directly to the Rec Department and the Firefighters Association to directly benefit the town in return.
Donna Hemphill helps out the committee every year, her role being more “behind-the-scenes,” as Hemphill put it. She said the party was very well attended, despite the rainy start to the day.
There were a few changes to the event this year, including the use of $1 tickets to use as “currency” at the food table instead of placing an order at the cash table and proceeding to the food table.
“By doing so, we streamlined the entire food service process,” said Hemphill. “It was great!”
This was also the second year the event had an ad booklet, and the first year corporate sponsors were solicited to help support the event.
The rain held off for the duration of the evening, and, although it took a little while to get it going, once it was lit, the bonfire was a sight to behold.
“Marion is a great community to be involved in,” said Hemphill. “I am not originally from Marion, but I love the sense of community and pride that friends and neighbors have about this town and its people. I am happy and grateful to be a part of such a fantastic event.”
By Jean Perry