Family Field Day brings people together in Whitesboro

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Takarai Smith, 6, in the foreground, and his sister, Tahira Spencer, 10, take a wild ride on the inflatable slide during Family Field Day at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Whitesboro on Saturday, May 31. Takarai Smith, 6, in the foreground, and his sister, Tahira Spencer, 10, take a wild ride on the inflatable slide during Family Field Day at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Whitesboro on Saturday, May 31. WHITESBORO - It was a rollicking good morning in Whitesboro on Saturday, May 31, as community members came together for the fourth annual Family Field Day at the Martin Luther King Community Center.

Soul, salsa and early hip-hop played lowly through large speakers. The air was fragrant with the aroma of meat pies, and a gentle breeze kept gnats and other no-see-ums at bay.

At 9 a.m. children swarmed a giant, inflatable slide, climbing up a series of protrusions, made to look like rocks, then throwing themselves over the top to whoosh down the slope, howling with glee.

At the same time, on Main Street, runners and walkers took their marks on the asphalt in preparation for the 5K run and one mile walk.

Robert Matthews, center director, led the participants, young and not-so-young, through a series of stretches prior to setting them loose on a course that took runners and walkers through Whitesboro neighborhoods.

Winners of the 5K race, from left, Logan Thomas, 3rd, Jacob Shelton, 2nd, Michael Clark, 4th, and Alix Thomas, 1st. Winners of the 5K race, from left, Logan Thomas, 3rd, Jacob Shelton, 2nd, Michael Clark, 4th, and Alix Thomas, 1st. “The race is a good thing,” Matthews said. “It’s great to get the community out and see the neighborhoods, the new developments and the work on the bike path.”

In addition to getting a look at their surroundings, Stephanie Thomas, a member of the center’s recreation advisory board, said the field day was envisioned as a way to promote physical activity in the community - to get people to think about their health, while enjoying themselves.

“It’s about staying healthy,” Thomas said. “A healthy lifestyle, as opposed to a diet of fast food, sitting around and playing video games.”

Thomas was as good as her word, and she joined a group of neighbors and youths, shimmying and stomping to a salsa beat, led by Kendale Ingrum, a Zumba instructor with the Atlantic City chapter of Jack and Jill of America.

“We have the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro working in conjunction with Jack and Jill of America for this event,” Thomas said. “They’re both non-profit groups supporting this family day.”

Other sponsors included Miracle Fitness, Sunshine Dentistry, Pantry 1 Food Mart, Muscle World of Cape May Court House, McDonald’s of Cape May Court House, Harmony Boutique, Cape Express Soccer Club and the Little Free Library No. 8165.

Stephanie Thomas, left, registers walkers for the one mile walk. Stephanie Thomas, left, registers walkers for the one mile walk. Committeeman Michael Clark and Sam Kelly, Democratic contender in this year’s Township Committee race, were also at the Whitesboro event.

“I always like to come down and support these field days,” Clark said. He was one of the runners lining up on the pavement, and Clark managed to finish fourth in the field.

Taking first place in the race was Alix Thomas, Cape May Court House. Her sister, Logan, came in third. Jacob Shelton was second.

The Thomas girls also won a 24” television, which was offered by the Little Free Library as a raffle prize for the racers.

“The library donated the television as a prize, because I want people to know about this family event,” said Cheryl Spaulding, founder and manager of the tiny, free library in Whitesboro.

“I want people to come together,” she said.

And that’s what Bernie Blanks, president of Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, hoped as well. Blanks said he expected more than 250 people to visit the event throughout the day, which was held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“It will be a good day,” Blanks said.

Some people attended the event for the race. Others, especially children, visited Family Field Day for the inflatable slide, jump rope and hula hoop contests.

Throughout the morning, parents and children learned Zumba fitness dances to all kinds of music, while the scent of freshly made meat pies and barbecue hung heavy in the morning air.

“This is a lot of fun,” said Alix Thomas, 18, and daughter to Stephanie Thomas.

“Now, I go to Hampton College in Virginia,” she said. “But home will always be Cape May Court House.”

Alix lifted her chin and nodded at the knots of people dancing, eating, talking and laughing.

“This is a good way to connect a community,” she said.

Proceeds from the event benefit Camp Unity 2014, a 9-week summer camp program, slated to begin on Monday, June 30.

Family Field Day in Whitesboro. Family Field Day in Whitesboro. Robert Matthews, right, leads a group of walkers in stretches. Robert Matthews, right, leads a group of walkers in stretches. Walkers getting ready to stroll through neighborhoods in Whitesboro. Walkers getting ready to stroll through neighborhoods in Whitesboro. Logan Thomas, center, and Alix Thomas, right, won the television donated by the Little Free Library. Cheryl Spaulding, left is the founder and manager of the library. Logan Thomas, center, and Alix Thomas, right, won the television donated by the Little Free Library. Cheryl Spaulding, left is the founder and manager of the library. Kendale Ingrum, of the Atlantic City chapter of Jack and Jill of America, leads a group in Zumba. Kendale Ingrum, of the Atlantic City chapter of Jack and Jill of America, leads a group in Zumba.

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