WYOMING, Mich. (WOTV) Being from the east side of Michigan, I have never heard of a Maranda Park Party. It wasn’t until I was seeking out an internship at WOOD TV8 that I first heard of the famous parties that rock the west side of the state. Once I got the internship, I was told I had to devote most Thursdays to attend the parties. Of course I could do that!
My summer internship started and the anticipation of the Park Parties was rising. The interns were informed with the duties we would have to perform and after many tests and trials of how to put up banners and tents, we were ready.
On Thursday, June 23, the interns hopped on the Hope Network bus with Tim Horton’s Timbits in hand and went on our way to Lamar Park in Wyoming. After attempts of trying to sing “Party in the USA,” we resulted to cranking up the music and pumping up for the day ahead. We looked outside and were afflicted about the impending rain. However, it always helps to have a meteorologist intern on board so we knew exactly when the rain was going to start and stop.
The weather didn’t rain on our parade and we were put to work. That is when the interns started to bond over the confusion on setting up pop-up tents. When we reached the last tent, we were pros and the team started to create blossoming friendships. It also helped that Applebees was so great to the interns and crew and provided us with amazing lunches. With our stomachs full, we were ready for the party to start.
The Maranda Park Party exploded with kids and families coming to grab free food and to enjoy the numerous activities. Seeing the looks on the faces of children enjoying themselves was priceless. My party task was to be at the WOOD TV8 booth to give medals to kids and parents to pose for a picture with a 2016 Rio Olympics sign with the great talent from WOOD TV8. Kids and families were excited to pose with their favorite talent that included Jordan Carson, Matt Kirkwood, Eva Aguirre Cooper, Leon Hendrix, and Marlee Ginter. I, of course, had to sneak in a picture with the talent too as I aspire to be just like them. My favorite moment was when a little girl asked to take a picture with me too. Now I was feeling like the talent and I was definitely okay with that!
Hundreds of kids became winners as I awarded them with a gold medal. As I handed out the medals, I reminded the kids that they can do anything they put their mind to, like even becoming an Olympic athlete. I hope they keep that thought with them as they look back on that day.
The party was popping and the dance acts on stage were amazing. I became distracted from my task because Trippy got me on my feet dancing and Aerial Tactic had me thinking I could do spins just like them. The stage was roaring with cheers and when Maranda came on, the stage was swarmed. It was prize time and everyone knew it. Tons of kids won great prizes and they had a fabulous time doing so.
After attending one Park Party, I realized that Maranda brings communities together.
I was looking around the party and I became envious. I wish I had someone as great as Maranda to give back to the community when I was growing up. After attending one Park Party, I realized that Maranda brings communities together. She allows people to come and enjoy a day where the only worry is “what activity should I do next?”
When the party was winding down, I overheard a mother telling her kid that when she was their age she attended Maranda Park Parties too. Maranda Park Parties are more than just parties – they’re meaningful family traditions. I am blessed my internship allows me to partake in this experience and I can’t wait to continue on this Park Party adventure with this amazing team. Also, the interns were rewarded with ice cream at the end of the party and that is always a plus!