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Shuttles give a lift at inaugural Fireflies stadium event

Earl Jay of Columbia, right, helps Norman Summers greet attendants at Sunday’s Night of Joy. Attendants parked in lots far from the stadium and shuttled to the front steps.
Earl Jay of Columbia, right, helps Norman Summers greet attendants at Sunday’s Night of Joy. Attendants parked in lots far from the stadium and shuttled to the front steps. ccope@thestate.com

Trolleys, golf carts and buses transported those who attended Sunday’s Night of Joy, the first non-baseball event at Spirit Communications Park.

Attendees drove to parking lots around the stadium and even to the Department of Mental Health’s parking lot across Colonial Drive. Once parked, visitors took another mode of transportation to get to the baseball stadium to hear gospel music.

Danita Speaks, who works for Brookland Baptist Church, already had made about 10 trips transporting those who parked in the nearby lots an hour and a half before the event started.

Speaks gave a ride to Lavonne Bazemore, who plays trumpet with First Baptist Church of Columbia. Bazemore said the shuttle was a great ride.

Norman Summers, owner of the Columbia Vista Transit System, provided some of the transportation, including trolleys.

Sunday’s event was a trial run for the parking that will happen Thursday for the first home baseball game at the new stadium, Summers said.

With about 10,000 people expected to attend, Summers said his goal will be to move as many people as possible from their vehicles to the stadium.

Some who parked near the stadium walked to their destination, including Karen Cantey. She was offered a ride, but instead chose exercise.

“I missed my gym time, so I’m good,” Cantey said.

A bus moved Robert and Regina Anderson from the Department of Mental Health parking lot to the stadium.

Regina Anderson, who was wearing heels, said she told her husband she hoped they would not have to walk far. “When I saw those trolleys, I said, ‘God is looking out for us,’” she said.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope

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