August 29, 2016
Cortland Comeback boosts community
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Eight-year-old Nathan Cotton, left, and his brother Aubrey Bell, 10, right, of Cortland, work together to put out a fire started by Cortland Fire Captain Dave Jensen, center, Saturday at the Cortland Comeback event at Courthouse Park in Cortland.
Local community members came together Saturday to help support the city of Cortland for the second annual Cortland Comeback event.
Entertainers sang famous country and classic rock songs throughout the day.
Kids got to interact with local police and pretend to be afirefighter.
And the community was able to donate to good causes and learn about healthy initiatives through various on-sitevendors.
The purpose of the event is to promote the well-being of the city and bring awareness to its drug issues, according to Erin Yager, who started the event.
Yager said last year she was hearing about all the problems with drugs in Cortland and after living in Cortland for about 20 years, she wanted to do something to help.
Along with help fromlocal resident Vickie Mundyand friends Margie Cusson-Ashley and Tracie McCall,Yager established an event which would bring the community together.
More than 60 local residents gathered at Cortland’s Courthouse Park to enjoy all the food and activities available to them.
This year, Yager brought in more new performers and Twister RC Raceway, of Homer, which all donated their time. And for the kids, there was a “Parade of Dreams” event, where kids got to say what they want to be when they grow up and were given a ticket for a free soda, ice cream or hot dog for doing so. One kid was chosen to be “Mayor for a Day!”as well.
Barb Blanchard, of Homer, had two of her nieces participate in the parade. She said she thought the event wasawesome.
“People don’t always get out enough and this was a good reason to do so,” Blanchard said.
There was plenty for kids to do, as state police put on on a seatbelt safety demonstration with a car rollover simulation machine and local firefighters set up an obstacle course where kids used a fire hose to put out a fire.
To Mayor Brian Tobin, that interaction between the two departments and young people is important.
“They (the kids) realize they (firefighters and police officers) are just regular people when they meet them,” Tobin said.
He praised the seatbeltsimulator as a good way toshow kids at an early age why it is important to use a seatbelt, possibly saving a life in thefuture.
James Sherman, of Cortland, said his 6-year-old daughter, Savannah, enjoyed working with the firefighters, as she gave a thumbs up in approval.
The event also had charitable opportunities, as people could bring goods for a local food pantry and donate money to support veterans and others.
Placed around the Courthouse Park were many stands for organizations, such as the Southern Tier AIDS Program, from Ithaca, promoting drug safety and advertising their work to help drug addicts.
Along with a local food truck, there was something for just about every Cortland resident. At the end of the event, Dominos gave out free pizzas as a movie was played to cap off the evening.
“It is great we can bring this kind of unity for the community,” Mundy said.
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