CAMDEN — Members of a local nonprofit held their first Camden Comeback Jamboree at John Schiely Municipal Waterworks Park in Camden last weekend.
“We’re having the event to bring the community together,” Camden Comeback Communications Chair Donna Cross told The Register-Herald last week. Camden Comeback is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and empowering the community of Camden, according to the group’s mission statement, as well as strengthening community cohesion and morale.
“We’re working to create a sense of ‘we’ by sharing our history and heritage, coordinating events and activities that promote and build community, and attracting or assisting new businesses,” Cross said. “We also want to help other villages with their own economic development initiatives.”
“We’re gathering to celebrate being neighbors and being a community,” Cross said of the Jamboree. “So there’s going to be a little something for everyone.”
For kids, the Jamboree featured inflatable attractions such as slides and bounce houses; local artists providing free face-painting; and petting zoo animals from Safari Junction Zoo in Camden. Cups of food were also provided to allow the children to feed the animals.
Camden-based DJ Jerame Halpin provided music throughout the event. The movie Space Jam starring Michael Jordan was also screened, with free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones provided. Attendees camped out on chairs and blankets to enjoy the show.
For adults, meanwhile, the Camden Lion’s Club hosted a cornhole tournament where players could compete for prizes. The event also featured a beer garden. The purchase of a wrist band for $5 provided a two-beer limit per person. Of course, valid ID was required in order to purchase the wrist bands.
Camden United Methodist Church, 4J’s Pizza and Café and Adam’s Ribs Food Booth provided food and refreshments for the event.
“This is a celebration to kick off Camden Comeback,” board president Kate Duskey said. “We really are trying to accomplish several things from our vision with this jamboree. Not only will it serve to bring together our community, but it will also benefit our local businesses and organizations.”
Duskey said that attendance for the event exceeded the group’s expectations.
“Honestly, I think that every one of us were really happy with the huge turnout,” Duskey said. “Everyone was in good spirits and seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had a strong volunteer turnout as well, and there were so many people that we stayed busy the entire time.”
Duskey was also complimentary of the event’s food vendors.
“The vendors did really well, and even sold out of some things, from what I heard,” Duskey said. “I would take that as a good sign that the food was enjoyed!”
Camden Comeback is planning a number of events for the coming months. In October, during the Black Walnut Festival, they’ll be doing their second annual Camden Haunted Tour.
“We did these last year for the first time, and both nights sold out,” Duskey said. “And we got so much positive feedback! We also had a lot of people who wanted to do it, but were not able to get tickets in time. This is something that went really well last year, and we’re excited to do it again this year.”
The group will have an open community meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m, where any members of the community who want to be involved will be invited to come out and learn more about Camden Comeback and what they do.