Each year the community comes together to celebrate local first responders and enjoy one last summer party.
Plant City’s Noon Rotary Club has been hosting the Community Appreciation Fun Day at the Randy Larson Softball Complex, 1500 S. Park Rd., for the past three years. Approximately 50 volunteers from the Rotary and local high schools fight the heat and make sure everyone has a fun and educational day.
This year the Rotary expected between 700 and 800 guests to attend and the parking lot was full of cars as families flocked to watch presentations like the “Jaws of Life” rescue mission from the Plant City Fire Department or the hands on equipment demonstrations by the Plant City Police Department’s SWAT team.
Even some adults got in on the action as they held the “Jaws of Life” and tried on some of the specialized armor.
Despite the high temperatures the crowds continued to pour into the complex. The Rotary provided free hotdogs and beverages and other local groups offered snow cones, chips and other refreshments all for free.
The first 500 students were also given free book bags filled with school supplies, which many will then use in the upcoming school year that begins Friday, August 10.
The Plant City Fire Department, Plant City Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were all onsite doing live demonstrations and chatting with interested children and families about their career and the special gadgets and vehicles they use to complete a job. HSCO also flew in and landed a helicopter on one of the softball fields.
Children were able to go out and sit in the chopper and talk to the pilots about how it works and why it is essential to have as part of the force.
When they took a break from learning and getting to know their local first responders, many of the children formed a long line around the bungie jump and rock climbing walls, which were sponsored by Unity in the Community.
There also were bounce houses and a dunk tank on site to offer a pleasurable break from the thick summer heat. Children rotated with Rotary volunteers to take their turn in the tank, while attendees did their best to cause them to plummet into the water.