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Wesson wants everyone to ‘Play-It-Up’

Wesson is putting its new municipal park to good use by way of a community “Play-It-Up” initiative.

The town is hosting a series of privately-sponsored events in its park to bolster local business and raise community morale. Municipal Clerk Angela Hester and a committee of volunteers help coordinate the gatherings.

Hester is Play-It-Up’s chief proponent and main organizer. She — along with Brittany Ashley and Alana Hughes — has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to getting the program up and running.

“We designed Play-It-Up to bring our community out and together,” she said.

Thus far, the project has exceeded her expectations. According to Hester, over 1,000 children from across the region participated in the park’s “Trunk-A-Treat” event on Oct. 31.

“It helps the kids learn how to get involved in the community and give back,” Hester said. “It also helps new people in our community get to know their neighbors.”

Play-It-Up is funded exclusively through private endowments, and area volunteers staff events.

“Local organizations and businesses help support these events,” Hester said. “Everything is run completely out of sponsorships and private donations.”

Hester credits Wesson’s Public Works Department for making Play-It-Up such a success. They tailor handcrafted games and signs to fit each event’s particular theme, she said.

The town of Wesson’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony Dec. 2 is Play-It-Up’s next scheduled gathering.

“Our community doesn’t do a lot unless it’s something church-oriented or something for school,” Hester said. “And if you don’t belong to this church or that church, then you may not know when an event is taking place. So, let’s bring everybody together. Let’s do something for everybody and get the kids involved.”

The Lions Club is showing a Christmas-themed film in the park Dec. 16, and moviegoers are encouraged to come decked in their favorite sleepwear. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served to all children in attendance.

“We are calling it Pajama Movie Night,” Hester said.

Volunteers will chaperone the children during the film, so parents can have some fun of their own.

“We want to break the adults off into groups and have a scavenger hunt,” she said. “They can earn different prizes for first, second and third place.”

For Hester, Play-It-Up is about more than just having fun. It’s about showing community spirit and sharing common values.

“We built this park so everybody can have a place to come,” she said.

For more information on upcoming Play-It-Up events, go to the Town of Wesson’s Facebook page.

To make a donation, call Hester at 601-643-5221 or send a check to P.O. Box 297 Wesson, MS 39191.

“If anybody wants to volunteer or if they have any new ideas, they can call me,” she said. “We are open for anything.”

Angela Hester

Story by Trapper Kinchen