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Ankeny, Iowa, delivered the FUN at 4th annual Play Day!

The nearly 1,500 people who gathered in two city parks Wednesday for the 4th Annual All-City Play Day evening proved that this Iowa community knows how to play.

Held in the Hawkeye and Wagner Parks, this year’s event included 23 play stations with outdoor activities ranging from water fights to big wheel races to canoeing in Hawkeye Pond. Organized by the City’s parks & recreation department and supported by more than 50 community volunteers, All-City Play Day has become a popular tradition among Ankeny’s summer events. Check it out:

“It’s a way to bring moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas and kids together to have fun: that’s the number one thing we want to do,” said Ankeny Mayor Steve Van Oort. “But just as important, we want to help them create a healthy lifestyle.”

One of the main goals of All-City Play Day was to get families to turn off the television, step away from the computer and be active outdoors. At the same time, the City of Ankeny leveraged technology to help spread the word and increase participation. Utilizing social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the City of Ankeny kept citizens informed about the variety of activities at All-City Play Day and kept the event at the forefront of residents’ schedules.

The success of Ankeny All-City Play Day has grown beyond Ankeny. Judy Baker, the Regional Director for the Department of Health & Human Services, traveled from Kansas City, MO to see what Play Day is all about and hopes it will encourage Ankeny to participate in Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids.

“All-City Play Day fits exactly into the goals and ambitions of the Let’s Move! initiative,” Baker said. Let’s Move! hopes to create an entire cultural change within the nation by addressing nutrition, education, fitness and physical activity throughout the community. The program is designed to provide resources for communities that want to get kids off the couch and on to new adventures!”