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Canajoharie, NY ,

Community comes together for downtown Block Party

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - Updated: 9:58 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- On Saturday, the spacious lawn beside the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library filled with children, who splashed their way down a wet slide, bounced around in a variety of blow up houses and lined up to dunk Canajoharie Community Youth Center Director Dontay Fowler and Canajoharie LIbrary Director Leah LaFera.

The Block Party, a combined event brainstormed by St. John's-St. Mark's Lutheran Church Pastor Zach Labagh -- who came up with the idea this past winter -- was a combined effort between the church, library and youth center. Labagh quickly recruited LaFera, who then brought the idea to Fowler. Then, as a group, the three started to plan the event.

Heavy planning took place over the course of the past month, and while the Block Party was primarily held on the lawn of the library, which also hosted a large, tented book sale, the CYC was open all day, showing off their new fitness center, featuring three pieces of equipment purchased thanks to a $5,000 donation. The church was also open all day, selling Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

While the proceeds of certain events, such as the dunk tank, will be split between the organizations, the Block Party was not meant to act as a fundraising event. The CYC's goal, said Fowler, "was to bring people out for a nice day."

LaFera agreed, stating of the event, "It's a really nice turnout. It's exactly how we hoped it would be. People coming downtown to spend the day together."

She noted that many kids showed up right at the beginning of the event and remained all day.

LaFera also explained that many local organizations helped to bring the Block Party to fruition, including Empower Federal Credit Union, who donated towards the bounce houses; Lenz and Betz Funeral Home, who provided free hot dogs (by Brotherhood Antiques) for a few hours; and Hotaling and Smith Funeral Home, who paid for a balloon twister. The Canajoharie Library also contributed to the bounce houses and paid for a musician. Patriot Federal Bank was also on hand making and passing out fresh cotton candy.

Fowler said the day was a fun one for him, despite the fact that he endured the cold water in the dunking tank for about a half hour. "I had about ten kids lined up to take me down," Fowler joked.

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