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The “40 East Band,” a musical act based in Wilmington, N.C., performs during Jacksonville’s Jamboree, May 3, at the Jacksonville Commons Complex. The annual event is hosted by Jacksonville’s Recreation and Parks department and features family-friendly entertainment including musical acts, a car display, a petting zoo and statewide sports competitions for softball, basketball, baseball, tennis and other sports.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Jacksonville Jamboree kicks off festival season, brings families together

8 May 2014 | Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Local families enjoyed a warm spring day with music, sports, food and festivities at the third annual Jacksonville’s Jamboree, held Friday through Sunday at the Jacksonville Commons Complex.

Family-friendly entertainment buzzed through the event to include musical acts, a car display, a petting zoo and statewide sports competitions for softball, basketball, baseball, tennis and other sports.

Jacksonville’s Recreation and Park’s department displayed what its parks offer to the community through the Jamboree, said Susan Baptist, recreation superintendent with the department.

“It’s about showcasing what a great community Jacksonville has,” said Baptist. “We’re very proud of our fields, facilities and programs.”

The Jacksonville Jamboree was initially meant to act as a sporting event, however, throughout the planning process, the staff at the Recreation and Parks Department saw it as an opportunity to highlight everything the park had to offer, said Baptist.

“We wanted to show a little bit of everything and provide a well-rounded family friendly event,” said Baptist.

The event has grown each year to include more entertainment and activities.

Entertainment was provided on the main stage with the 2nd Marine Division Band, Jacksonville’s Got Talent and musical acts such as the “40 East Band”, “Brick House” and “Freeway”.

A children’s area included a petting zoo with pony rides and a train ride.

Nataly Marquez, a military spouse, said the event was an opportunity to spend quality time with her family.

“With the vendors, the petting zoo and entertainment (at Jacksonville’s Jamboree) we had a great time,” said Marquez. “It was quality time. Sometimes we struggle finding things to do with the family on the weekends. I think this event is a great way to come together and build memories.”

Sean Fantana, a retired Marine, attended the event to spend time with his family and learn what the city had to offer.

“The atmosphere (at Jacksonville’s Jamboree) is very family friendly,” said Fantana. “There’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It was great to come and enjoy a day out with my family.”

The event showcased Jacksonville’s recreational facilities, he added.

“This isn’t just a Marine town,” said Fantana. “It’s a family town.”

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