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Towel warmers give residents at Oak Crossing a little extra luxury after showers or surgeries. Members of the Oak Crossing Family Council have already purchased two and have a goal of purchasing two more to make one for each community. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Party in the Park: June 27 event to help Oak Crossing

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It’s an event that essentially has an entire community wrapping its arms around some area elderly and saying, “We’ll take care of you.”

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The Essentia Health Oak Crossing Family Council is gearing up to hold its 22nd annual Party in the Park, set for Friday, June 27.

The event is designed to raise money for special projects that help enhance the lives of the Oak Crossing residents.

“We’ve purchased a van, built a beautiful chapel, purchased an aquarium, pianos, TVs, music players…” said Bertha Anderson, who, along with local lady, Ruth Renier, has been involved with the council since its inception.

The event, which goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Holy Rosary Parish Center, is held there to avoid any chance of bad weather ruining the event.

People walking in can take in a little music from county-western band Off the Wall Band and Glen Miller-style musicians The Front Row.

And what would a party in the park be without picnic food?

Barbecues, chips, pie, ice cream and a beverage will fill the bellies of party-goers for $6 per person.

“And we have a variety of pies, so you can pick out what you want,” said Renier. “Cherry blueberry lemon, peach, strawberry, rhubarb, dutch apple…”

Artwork by Joyce Arndt and a homemade quilt by Janelle Erickson will be up for grabs that day, as $1 raffle tickets will buy people a chance at both of them.

Every year Party in the Park has 20-25 volunteers organizing and putting on the event that brings in roughly 300 people.

It’s an event that these ladies believe remains so popular because of how much Oak Crossing touches the lives of so many in the community.

“We both had family members in there when we started this,” said Anderson, who says although they’ve since passed away, they wanted to continue their mission of making life a little bit better for the residents there.

 “And that makes us feel good because we know that our family members were treated well,” said Anderson.

This year, money raised from Party in the Park is going towards another towel warmer for the facility.

The $2,500 piece of hospital equipment warms towels for residents who might benefit from the warm, relaxing sensation following things like surgery.

“Or even when the residents get out of the shower, they can wrap a warm towel around them, and it just feel so good,” said Anderson.

Last year the family council purchased two towel warmers, and according to these ladies, they don’t want to quit until all four “communities” at Oak Crossing has one.

Although the council receives a few donations and memorials throughout the year, Party in the Park is its main fundraiser and avenue towards infusing just a little bit of fun and luxury into the lives of some of the areas most treasured loved ones.

Anderson and Renier say they’re hoping more people hop on board with this mission and encourage community members who have a friend or family member at Oak Crossing to join.

They meet the first Thursday of every month at noon except January.

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