By SEAN ROWLEY
Despite some uncooperative weather, plenty of families chose to attend Saturday’s Family Fun Day at Phoenix Park, organized by the District 27 Cherokee County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Task Force.
The event was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the skies opened around noon to unleash torrential rains that forced an early close.
“We still managed to raise about $400 for two hours,” Leah Moore, task force coordinator. “I was actually surprised by the response, since this was our first year
If the weather had been better, I think we would have done really well.”
Several agencies and organizations were represented.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation offered skeet shooting and archery. Sequoyah State Park set up a display of snakes and animal skulls, the Tahlequah Police Department display touted meth lab awareness.
Other attending organizations included Tahlequah EMS, Eagle Med, Oklahoma Lake Patrol, Tahlequah Fire Department, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and CCR-START.
Kids were given “drunk goggles” and allowed to drive between pylons in a golf cart. There was also a dunk tank, along with live music and a fenced area with animals for children to pet.
“We organized Family Fun Day because we really wanted to do something different,” Moore said.
“In the past, we have had fundraising events that were typical - baked potato auctions, pie auctions, those sorts of things. This was a chance for our us to meet and talk with the public, have fun and still raise some money.”
Funds were raised through food and water sales, and the dunk tank cost $3 to throw five baseballs.
“That accounted for all that we collected,” Moore said. “We really made an effort to keep as much of the event free of charge as we could.”
Revenue raised through the event goes to the child abuse task force.
“Some money goes to the Child Advocacy Center to help the children we work with,” Moore said.
“We also want to help victims with purchases of gifts,such as coats, renting the city pool, T-shirts, pizza. We want to purchase digital cameras for the resource officers at area schools. They can use them to gather evidence if a child has bruises or injuries that indicate abuse.”
Family Fun Day coincided with homecoming Saturday at Northeastern State University, which Moore said may have further affected attendance.
“When we first started putting this Fun Day together, we had a limited number of dates on which we could hold it,” Moore said.
“It was enough of a success that we definitely plan to do it next year. We will probably schedule it in September and we will have even more activities and participating agencies. We want it to get bigger and better each year.”
Moore said those who wish to take part in or donate to next year’s Fun Day can call her at (918) 822-7712.
“Anyone with suggestions for new activities, or who can provide resources or equipment are welcome to call,” she said.
“We received donations from Reasor’s and other businesses for hot dogs, buns and water. All donations are helpful.”