ANDERSON — Anderson residents didn't have to go far this year for a Labor Day Bash. Anderson Parks and Recreation held the inaugural Labor Day Bash at Shadyside Park on Monday.
It was a daylong event with food and music from local musicians Toy Factory, DJ K9 and Living Proof.
"We wanted to give people something to do and bring the community together," Parks Superintendent Stephon Blackwell said, adding that he's heard many say there's nothing to do in Anderson.
It's a perception the city's trying to change. The Park Board, Blackwell said, checked out other cities, like Charlotte, N.C., to see what they do for Labor Day before deciding to go with a concert for all ages.
Back when the General Motors factories were still here, Blackwell said the company held carnivals and events at Killbuck Park for families to enjoy.
"We're not that factory town anymore, but we're still attracting new businesses," he said. "There's no reason not to celebrate."
Blackwell said officials wanted to show residents they don't have to travel to Indianapolis and elsewhere to enjoy fun events. And for those who couldn't travel because of budgetary reasons, he added that the Labor Day Bash was free.
Next year, officials plan to make it a part of the summer concert series.
"This year is the first," Blackwell said. "We'll go every year."
While there were about 300 concertgoers listening around 4 p.m., Blackwell expected to see the number in the thousands by the end of the night, at 10 p.m., after seeing about 8,000 out for the Shadyside Celebration for the Fourth of July.
Jerry and Josephine Wright brought their grandchildren out after going to the unions' Labor Day Picnic and Cruise-In at Beulah Park in Alexandria. They said they saw the celebration and decided to stop by to check it out.