15th anniversary of Marco's cityhood celebrated at Mackle Park

— Friday afternoon, Mackle Park swarmed with life – and particularly with children.

The City of Marco Island continued what is slated to be a year-long celebration of 15 years of cityhood, according to recreation manager Mindy Gordon of the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Dept., which hosts the affairs. Kid-friendly activities including face painting, tetherball, making s'mores, plus cotton candy, a bounce house, and relay races around the "truffula trees" kept the younger generation bounding from one spot to another. Perhaps some burned off enough energy that when the open-air screening of Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" commenced once darkness set in, they were ready to fall asleep.

"The Lorax" was also the reason for the truffula trees, featured in the book and the movie. In addition to full size trees among which the children frolicked, they had the opportunity to create their own miniature versions – truffula seedlings, as it were. Mary Courtemanche showed up as the Cat in the Hat to continue the Dr. Seuss theme. For the Love of Cats, the feline rescue group, showed up with Franklin, an abandoned kitten in need of a home.

Elsewhere in the park, kids splashed in the water feature, shot hoops under the airnasium canopy, played soccer and touch football, and romped on the playground equipment. Adults made use of the bocce and shuffleboard courts, and across the water, a group of dog owners exercised their furry friends at Canine Cove. Lenda Okenkova even found a quiet spot to catch up with a little reading.

"I love this. Events like this really bring the community together," said Gordon.

Whether or not Marco voters ultimately decide to fund major renovations to Mackle Park, there is no doubt the park is a well-loved, and well-used facility. The next movie in the park scheduled is "The Hunger Games," set for nightfall on Friday, Feb. 22, when sunset will occur at 6:24 p.m.

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