Activities were centered under the big open-air canopy at Mackle Park, with cake and ice cream, hot dogs – or rather, beach dogs – face painting, balloon art, a bounce castle, what was apparently the "wheel of candy," with children spinning Sajak- style, and more.
All the city departments, including building services, community affairs, public works, environmental services, parks & rec, police and fire were on hand to give citizens an idea of what they do or highlight a particular program.
Marco Fire/Rescue brought a fire truck, always a kid magnet, and the Marco Police Dept. used a pair of Jet-Skis to help promote their free loaner lifejacket program. Got the grandchildren in town, and want to take them for a boat ride, but you don't have child-size PFD's? Call the police.
Environmental services focused on the spotted owl, and the Kiwanis K-Kids program raised funds and awareness for their donations of books to underprivileged and under-resourced children. K-Kids, for children 6-12, invites families back to Mackle Park on Nov. 30 for Movies in the Park, screened under the stars, and an ice cream social.
Marco attorney and unofficial resident historian Craig Woodward, relaxing with his wife Bonnie, reminisced about the old days, when they lived adjacent to the park, and the shade trees standing tall all around were nothing more than saplings. He also mentioned recent political events.
"It's smart to have this event after the elections," he said, for greater harmony. "We would have had flyers and signs and all kinds of stuff." The actual 15th anniversary took place in September, but the party had to be rescheduled – for weather, not elections. And speaking of signs, win or lose, all those campaign signs along the island's streets have now gone from emblems of civic engagement to roadside litter.
Teens kicked soccer balls around in the fields, young children swung and romped in the playground, adults played on the bocce courts, and sailboats tacked around the lake. At age 15, the city, like many teenagers, has some issues and some growing pains, but paused on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for a happy birthday party.