Family and friends spanning from Prosper to Dallas and Sherman converged on Frontier Park earlier this month to enjoy a day of entertainment, good food and tradition at the annual Prosper Community Picnic.

The free event gives the ever growing population of Prosper the chance to meet new faces, make lasting friendships and visit with elected officials, as well as the firefighters and police officers in the community. The picnic provided a relaxed and welcoming experience for everyone to enjoy.

“We love the fact that Prosper puts on a great event for the community itself,” Nathan Herrington of the Prosper Methodist Church said of the event. “It brings out a true community feel, but it’s not just limited to us. When you talk to everybody, we have people here from Frisco, McKinney, Celina, even Sherman. So, in that way, it’s truly a community event. … It’s not just people from the neighborhood.”

While there were plenty of attractions for the whole family — including a petting zoo, pony rides and bounce houses to name a few — there were also many opportunities for Prosper citizens to give back to their community throughout the event. Bethlehem Place, Prosper’s only local food pantry, again supported the event and held its annual school competition “Hunger is No Picnic” food drive. All in all the local schools were able to raise 577 food items, with Stuber Elementary going home the big winner with the most donations.

“It (the food drive) always makes it a fun way to get the kids involved and it gives them the chance to learn how to give back to their community,” Christi Kimme, chairman at Bethlehem Place, said. “We love that we are so fortunate that the majority of the food that we give comes from our community, which is not the case everywhere. But it just goes to show how generous our community is.”

There was also a new way to give back with the “September Santa” gift drive put on by Cornerstone Assistance Network of North Central Texas. The drive asked for unwrapped gifts or toys for children from infants to 18 years old.

Local firefighters brought a traveling 9/11 memorial, one of the only ones of its kind, to talk and educate members of the community from adult to child about the tragedy.

As is tradition, Mayor Ray Smith and members of the Town Council were the featured hot dog servers for the food provided and grilled to perfection by members of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship. Members of Prosper United Methodist Church helped fight the heat by serving ice cold water and lemonade to help refuel the children sprinting from one attraction to another. And dessert was presented and served by the Prosper Ladies Association.