MASSENA - It was nearly a year ago that the Rev. Donald C. Curry marveled at the crowd that showed up at Alcoa Park for the first-ever Love Massena Day, a joint effort between Compassion North and the Greater Massena Ministerial Association.
It was such a turnout, he said, that it spurred them to plan a second Love Massena Day, which is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. July 26.
“It exceeded our expectations. It was unbelievable,” said the Rev. Mr. Curry, who serves as CEO of Compassion North and pastor of New Testament Church in Massena.
Last year’s event, which was held in response to growing community concerns about crime in the neighborhoods around Alcoa Park, featured everything from music and games to food and art.
“We had music, both DJ’d and live. We had sports - a mini-basketball camp and a tennis camp. We had an incredible, beautiful art mural done by Marion Bradish,” the Rev. Mr. Curry said.
Ms. Bradish had created a 24-foot mural especially for the event. Visitors were invited to paint both sides of the mural which included, among other things, fish, hearts and the phrase “Love Your Neighbor.” Ms. Bradish had done a similar mural in Canton.
She will be out of town on the day of this year’s event, but is already creating another mural that will be set up that day for participants to paint like they did last year.
“She stenciled it and they paint by the numbers,” he said.
The day also featured balloon creations, face painting, clowns, and food and refreshments like hot dogs and popcorn.
“Last year we had 1,000 hot dogs and every one was eaten,” the Rev. Mr. Curry said.
The Salvation Army was also on hand to provide snow cones on a hot, sunshine-filled summer day.
“The Salvation Army did a fantastic job,” he said.
The Massena Police Department brought their Humvee for display near a Massena Fire Department truck, and a special “Lots for Tots” had been set up to offer lightly used children’s clothing for $1, drawing a steady crowd who stocked up on back to school items. Compassion North donated 400 articles of clothing for that booth.
Children’s games were also plentiful and well-attended, according to the Rev. Mr. Curry.
“This year’s we’re going to try and add puppets,” he said.
He said visitors to this year’s event should expect more of the same. “Our plans are to have at least as many offerings as we had last year,” he said.
They would like to possibly add cotton candy to the mix, as well as a bigger children’s games and dunk tank that could feature some local officials. Those ideas and others will be part of the planning process.
“It takes a couple of months to really get it together. The leaders do everything. I just kind of organize things,” the Rev. Mr. Curry said. “Things are falling into place.”