This past weekend, three events served to bring our families together. They included the Maitland Art Center Children's Art Festival, the celebration of the grand re-opening of Bellamy Park, and the Second Annual Friends of First Response Kickball Charity Tournament, which brought focus to our neighbors, friends and family, making this week one of the most memorable.
Children's Art Festival
On Saturday, the Maitland Art Center held the Children's Art Festival, which attracted nearly 1,000 children, parents and visitors to the campus. The event was a hands-on, entertaining event that focused on many art activities and brought many special guests, including Congressman John Mica.
For years, Congressman Mica has worked to bring attention and focus to children in our communities. This year he brought the award presentation to his Artistic Discovery Congressional Student Art Exhibition to the Maitland Art Center. Students from across Central Florida vied for the top awards. The artwork was reminiscent of some on display at the most recent Spring Festival of the Arts. The winning artists will take a trip to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony in their honor.
Many thanks to the Maitland Art Center, to Congressman Mica and to all who worked so hard to make this event possible.
Bellamy Park celebration
On Saturday, the Bellamy Park neighborhood was brought together for a celebration of the grand re-opening of the park. This celebration was well attended with food, fun and Jeremiah's for all in attendance.
The event included recognition of efforts of the community, a local group called FOCUS and the Open Door Church, which resulted in bringing all parties together, including the city of Maitland, to recognize the importance of residents having full access to the restrooms within the park.
In talking to the neighbors, I was excited to find the level of commitment on behalf of all in attendance to make certain that anyone visiting the park could be assured of nothing but a wonderful, safe experience.
Although many thanked me for being there, it was indeed I who was truly honored to be a part of the celebration. Thank you to Martha Bryant Hall and her daughter and to all of the volunteers for making this an event to remember!
Friends of First Response Kickball Tournament
This was a tournament event for the ages — all of them, in fact. Entire families, moms, dads, kids, friends and neighbors all enjoyed a day full of fun, excitement, games and plenty of food and drink for everybody!
But for some, it wasn't all fun and games — it was serious business. Once I saw the firefighters warming up in perfectly choreographed unison, I knew my team, Rotary, a band of kickballer wannabes, had no hope of winning it all. Fortunately, we were there to have fun, enjoy the day and help a cause.
It was the second annual tournament organized by the Friends of First Response, an organization dedicated to serving our police, fire and EMS first responders in any way possible or imaginable. The nonprofit is made up of dedicated Maitland residents Dr. Mark Round, June Flowers, Elizabeth Hildebrand and Patti Schmidt, who volunteered their time to make this event a success in every way. And as much fun as we had during the day, this year's tournament included a silent auction, which helped to make it a greater financial success than last year.
Many thanks go out to the sponsors of the event and to all of the volunteers who spent countless hours on behalf of our community. Your efforts have helped bring our First Responders and our community that much closer to one another!