BELDING — As seven-year old Theophiles Iwuh exited the 18th annual Belding Community Showcase with his mother, Sally Corder-Myles, he could’t help but unleash his curiosity on Belding Fire Chief Gregg Moore.
“What’s that do?” he asked pointing to firefighting equipment. “How does that work?” he asked again.
With firetrucks parked outside the front entrance of the high school, it was difficult for any family coming or going from the showcase Thursday evening to do so without children asking again and again to enter and explore the trucks one more time.
“It’s very limited when you have kids, where you can go,” Corder-Myles said. “Tonight’s showcase, we were able to make a family event of it.”
For Corder-Myles and her children, it was the first time attending the annual event.
“This was awesome,” she said, “especially for little boys. The fire trucks, police, school buses, he doesn’t want to go home.”
It was an exciting way to begin and conclude an event that featured more than 35 businesses and 45 community groups that were on display this year within the high school.
Event organizer Tiffany Jackson said she couldn’t be happier with this year’s turnout, which was boosted by home sporting events that included baseball, softball and track.
“We had a phenomenal turnout,” she said. “People came in droves tonight, and what a great way to enter with the fire trucks and new school bus greeting everyone, seeing the city and the school out in the forefront.”
Jackson said she estimated about 3,000 visitors attended this year’s showcase, if not more, to see the various community groups and businesses, along with many student projects, ranging from artwork to performances put on in the Belding Performance Arts Center.
“It’s a great night, I really don’t have a clue how many people were here tonight,” she said with a laugh. “We filled the auditorium five times for performances by students and the flow of people was so much better than last year.”
Jackson said the extra help she received from school administrators and students made a big difference in setting up the event and making it a success everyone.
“I had a great team, it wasn’t just me,” she said. “All of the administrators took part in organizing, cleaning and helping with set up. And students from the National Honors Society and Belding Student Council worked just as hard, if not harder, that we did.”
With the coming together of school, community and city organizations, Jackson described Thursday evening as a “one of a kind event.”
“I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did,” she said.
Belding Mayor Ron Gunderson, who greeted the many who attended along with other members of the Belding City Council and Belding Area Schools Board of Education, said he was amazed by the amount of interaction involved from those who visited the various businesses and groups spread throughout the school.
“It was a terrific turnout tonight,” he said. “I think the thing that amazed me was the fact that people were actually taking time to stop and see what every group had to offer. It was crowded, people were talking to one another, and we were really able to showcase the businesses and everything Belding has to offer.”
Awarded at the conclusion of the showcase were the two Gold Star Awards, given to an area business and an individual, recognizing those who have done work in the community and partnered with the Belding Area Schools district.
The winner of the Gold Star Award for an area business was awarded to two businesses, Spectrum Health Belding Family Medicine and Metron of Belding.
The winner of the Gold Star Award for an individual was awarded to Sandy Scheid.