WHEELING – The premier Cops, Pops & Community event – a festival showcasing partnership, acceptance and equality while building community spirit – drew hundreds to the heritage port of Wheeling on Saturday. The organizers said the fun and the inaugural games are a great foundation to build on in the future.
The Ziegenfelder Company partnered with the Wheeling Police Department and various organizations including the YWCA of Wheeling, YSS and Men of Change to host the free community event.
Whether it was taking part in one of the many relay races with members of the Wheeling Police Department or one of the many games and activities spread out along Heritage Port, the day brought a lot of fun. and laughter to the many participating families.
Families took advantage of the free food, while the kids jumped on inflatables, made jewelry with help from Disney Princesses, and had their faces painted, all while a DJ played energetic tunes.
Barry Allen, president and chief human resources officer of the Ziegenfelder company, said that as a year like 2020 comes out, it’s exciting to finally be able to bring the community together for the free family event. He said they hope the future of the event is even brighter.
“We had a great turnout and we’re taking notes on what we can do better and different… but a free event for kids and families – it’s a really cool opportunity. “ Allen said.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger also said it was a wonderful event that organizers hope to build on in the future.
“It brings the community together with the police and certainly in today’s world, it is extremely important”, Schwertfeger said. “As an agency, we’ve always been proud to try to be leaders.
“We are grateful to have such partners”, he added. “It’s an incredible day for the first event to have this kind of participation. It is very impressive. But most important is the interaction – the PD Wheeling, we are dressed today in most cases. It is therefore an opportunity for people to get to know the officers.
Ron Scott of Men of Change echoed Allen and Schwertfeger’s comments, discussing the significance of the event.
“A lot of people see the demonstrations, the protests, that sort of thing across the country as a sign that we should do something, we should fix the systems,” he added. Scott said. “But they have to watch events like this and signs that we are improving, we can do better, there are places that know how to do it.
“So we should be as much of a beacon with events like this as protesters and protesters are,” he added. “With the bravery and foresight of Zigenfelder, I am sure other companies will join us, and it will be an ongoing thing.”
Wheeling resident JT Porter, who brought his children to Heritage Port, said it was a wonderful community event.
“It’s really nice to go out with the community and interact with the police. It’s very important at the moment ”, Porter explained. “It’s a wonderful event, and I’m very happy to bring my kids here and really learn. They loved it. “
Cops, Pops & Community was originally scheduled for last summer but has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ziegenfelder is the largest producer of Twin Pops in the United States. Founded in 1861 as a candy and ice cream maker, the company has evolved into its trademark “Rainbow table” of frozen novelties.