DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Superstars have donated their time and money to make the Gem City Shine event possible, with Dave Chappelle donating the stage and production assets.
It took a lot of planning to put it all together in less than two weeks, but Dayton city officials said they were ready to deliver.
Chappelle told the crowd, “We hold our heads up high because we know where we come from,” adding “you are the best neighbors I could ask for.”
For many of the 20,000 spectators, including the mayor, it was a time to finally celebrate.
Carri Paschal attended the show. She said: “Just a chance for us to show that we are resilient, that we can come together.”
Another viewer, Jillynne Fields, said, “There’s an incredible amount of community spirit just in the District of Oregon.”
“It’s a very safe space and a very safe place, one of the most unique places in the whole region,” Mayor Nan Whaley said.
For hours they came on Sunday, thousands upon thousands of people pouring through the doors of Gem City Shine. About 10 days of planning come to fruition.
Whaley said, “You can’t say enough about the Dayton City team. Especially first responders. I think they are the best in the country.
Businesses in the Oregon District were flooded with people laughing, eating and spending a little money. It’s a good problem to have.
Carolyn DesJardin of the Oregon District Business Association said she was “emotionally drained, physically drained from all the support. But they understand it’s all with the best of intentions and we’re going to come out of this stronger.
Mayor Nan Whaley has been in a whirlwind for the past three weeks in charge of the city following the shooting. She says she learned what leadership is needed in the wake of the tragedy.
“Being with your city as much as possible and being, quite frankly, as public as possible,” Whaley said. “Because your community is scared, nervous and grieving and needs to see its leaders out there and out front.”
Neighborhood leaders say the response is palpable and appreciated. DesJardin said, “Since I’ve been here, all I’ve seen is love. Everyone is calm, everyone is excited, everyone is kissing and that’s what we want to see in the neighborhood.