A young girl (above) decorates her pumpkin with stickers at Lower Pottsgrove’s Community Day
SANATOGA PA – Katie Smith, the receptionist at the Lower Pottsgrove municipal building, had ordered dozens of pumpkins to be given to young children Saturday morning (Oct. 24, 2015) at the township’s first Community Day, in the Sanatoga Village Center plaza on East High Street. They were gone within two hours.
Gone, too, were 2,500 Halloween stickers kids chose to decorate those pumpkins. And gone were the free hot dogs being handed out to all hungry visitors, most of them no more than three-to-four-feet high and dressed as everything from Minions to wizardly Harry Potter.
- See a gallery of 61 photos from Community Day, and download any for free if you choose! They’re on a Google Photos page created by The Sanatoga Post, here.
Smith couldn’t have been happier. “Isn’t this great?,” she asked rhetorically at noon, and pointed to a table where five youngsters still worked on their pumpkins. “That’s the quietest it’s been all morning.”
She wasn’t alone. Everyone from public officials, to volunteer firefighters from the Sanatoga and Ringing Hill companies, to a cadre of police officers seemed delighted by the large turn-out for the three-hour (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) event that combined the inaugural Community Day with the traditional Lower Pottsgrove Parks and Recreation Fall Festival.
Hundreds of local residents filled the parking lot outside the plaza’s vacant K-Mart store for seasonal fun, games, and a costume parade. “They were lining up here 10 minutes before we were ready to open,” a somewhat surprised township Commissioner Earl Swavely noticed.
People could be seen laughing, smiling, and waving to friends and neighbors. Parents coaxed shy princesses and reticent ninja warriors to publicly prance around and show off their Halloween finery; they got the hang of it quickly.
Adults petted a canine officer from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, marveled at the display of several fire trucks and rescue vehicles, and peeked inside a MedEvac helicopter that landed at about 12:30 p.m. in front of the also-vacant Thriftway Supermarket. They talked with township police about child finger-printing and other safety measures.
A couple even sneaked bites of their child’s hot dog when they thought no one was looking. The kids didn’t seem to mind.
A bicycle obstacle course set up by the police department hadn’t received as much use as bike patrol Ofc. Rob Diesinger might have hoped, but he said he’s got ideas to promote it more heavily for next year.
Oh, yes, there most certainly will be a next year. Given Saturday’s response police Sgt. Wil James thinks Community Day has a big future, and others who also helped plan for and pull it off agreed. “I can see this becoming a two- or three-day event,” James said. “There’s so much more we can do with it.”
Photos by Joe and Debbie Zlomek for The Post Publications LLC