Community Unity Explosion brings residents to Gateway

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Residents continue July 4 weekend festivities in Gateway Park

MG_3702-600x338By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times

COATESVILLE – Parents, children, residents of all ages, performers, vendors, musicians, judges, business owners, city council members, and police officers filled First Ave and Gateway Park on Saturday during the Coatesville Community Unity Explosion.

City Council Member Marie Hess cools down on the water slide.

City Council Member Marie Hess cools down on the water slide.

Various local businesses lined First Ave., offering foods and goods. Among them, Caroline’s Home and Commercial cleaning prepared chicharrónes, the Order of the Eastern Star and the 3rd Masonic District of Prince Hall sold burgers and hotdogs, and Sabatino’s provided pizza.

“For Coatesville, we’re trying to bring in more positive things,” said Patricia Thompson of the Order of the Eastern Star. “I think this is an awesome thing that they’re doing.”

In addition, The Salt Vault offered their therapeutic products, Downingtown’s Aerimus clothing sold shirts reading, “Educate, don’t discriminate,” and Coatesville Cheerleading offered all kinds of red and black gear.

City Council Members Arvilla Hunt and Linda Lavender-Norris sell wristbands for the moon bounces.

City Council Members Arvilla Hunt and Linda Lavender-Norris sell wristbands for the moon bounces.

“We support the community and what it stands for to be part of Coatesville,” said junior cheerleader Faith Butcher. “It’s [the Community Unity Explosion] good because it pulls us together as a community and shows that we are very proud.” She said that the money made on Saturday will go toward funding trips and competitions for the varsity squad.

Moon bounces and laser tag were set up for the kids, but the biggest hit of the day was probably the water slide, which provided relief from the mostly pleasant but occasionally overbearing heat. The Silver Sound Disc Jockeys spun records throughout the afternoon, giving kids—and occasionally kids at heart—a chance to dance in the park.

Among others, city council members, Judges Gregory Hines and Grover Koon, Coatesville Superintendent Dr. Cathy Taschner, and State Representative Candidates Harry Lewis and Josh Maxwell could be spotted among the crowd. Meanwhile, Police Chief Jack Laufer rode around on a segue.

Walt Anderson serenades the crowd in Gateway Park.

Walt Anderson serenades the crowd in Gateway Park.

“I think it’s important for the city to provide an opportunity, especially on a holiday such as July 4, Independence Day, to come together and meet as a community and provide some fun things for the kids to do and the adults as well,” said Laufer. “It’s an opportunity for us [the police department] to get out of our cars and meet some of the public and shake hands. It puts a face to our department.”

As the evening set on, R&B singer Walt Anderson took the stage with The Life Gamblers backing him. A fire breather lit up the night on the corner of First and Lincoln, and then fireworks lit up the sky to close the day.

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