By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Sultry weather early and storms late cut into the turnout of the first-ever Community Day party in the Anderson Town Center Saturday afternoon.
But it didn't keep about 400 people from filtering through over the four-hours the event lasted. And most importantly, the event still raised roughly $5,000 for the Community Oriented Policing Services of the Anderson Police Department (COPS), which hosted party.
"We had a really good turnout, and people had a lot of fun out here," said COPS coordinator Kelly Taliaferro. "One of the things we're trying to do is make everyone feel welcome and break down some negative stereotypes about police. They're here to help."
More than 40 vendors provided food, crafts and information about different community groups at the party. A live band played on the amphitheater in the Town Center until the event wrapped up early due to an impending storm. The event was planned to run from noon to 5 p.m. but close shop a little early.
A motorcycle ride kicked off the event in the morning. More than 40 bikers zoomed from Double T Leather on Columbus Avenue to the Town Center. Riders donations represented the bulk of the money raised, which will go to programs like Neighborhood Crime Watch, Senior Link and Student Resource Officer.
"This is just our way of helping out the community," said rider Chaps Benfield. "A lot of these programs run exclusively on donations, so we're just trying to help any way we can. Every bit helps."
Also featured at the party was a bounce house, dunk tank, bike show and demonstrations by police K-9 and SWAT teams. A silent auction also raised a portion of money for COPS.
The $5,000 figure was an initial estimate from Taliaferro, and she said an official number will be released later in the week, but she was very pleased with how the inaugural Community Day unfolded.
Officer Chad Boynton, who coordinates the Neighborhood Crime Watch program, said he appreciated the support the programs received through the donations and he praised the efforts of several volunteers who made the event happen.
Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.