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Players are the stars, of course, but there are other attractions

By Bryan Richardson

In the future when there’s a fire in Manhattan, Aubrey Cheetsos might be among the emergency responders.

Aubrey is only 4 years old right now, but she started her firefighter training Thursday at Purple Power Play on Poyntz. The Manhattan Fire Department ran a demonstration, allowing children with the help of a firefighter to operate the water hose.

Aubrey’s mother, Emily Cheetsos, said she came with her family to the event for the first time. They started in the inflatable carnival area. Ahead were more than 80 vendors to discover and the main stage where performances and the pep rally took place.

In other words, the family had a long road ahead of them. “That’s what we’re beginning to realize,” Emily said.

Purple Power Play continues Friday. Performances by the Manhattan High Pops Choir, the Bates Dance Studio and Greg Coffey with the Funk Tribe kept the crowd entertained Thursday.

The pep rally for the K-State football and baseball teams included performances by the K-State marching band, cheerleaders and Classy Cats.

Samantha Blanton, 6, could be among the music performers one day considering she has it in her DNA.

Her father and mother, Chris and Heather Blanton, sang in the MHS Pops Choir and Heather also played in the marching band. “She sings in the car almost nonstop,” Heather said about her daughter.

Samantha didn’t know any of the songs playing at that moment, but she enjoyed herself by tossing a Frisbee around. “I liked the bouncy house,” she said.

Samantha’s favorite part of the event came toward the end. That didn’t involve coach Bill Snyder and the football team; rather, it was the marching band.

“Marching band is always her favorite part of any type of sporting event,” Heather said.

Still, the major reason for this event is to pump up the football team and the community before the first home game Saturday against Missouri State.

At the Sunny 102.5 booth, James Harmer, 7, spun the wheel to determine for which K-State football game he could enter a ticket drawing.

His mother, Kristi, said she comes out every year to the event. “Just getting in the spirit of the game,” she said. “Seeing all the purple and supporting K-State.”

James said his favorite sport to watch and play is football. Perhaps James and other children among the crowd could be future Kansas State football players.

“Hopefully,” Kristi said of his future football chances. “He can throw the ball very accurately.” She said James is also good at kicking, which is his favorite thing to do on the field.

Fans of the Wildcats will have to wait a while until James is possibly ready to become Kansas State’s quarterback or kicker. In the meantime, the football team’s chance for success is great this year, according to James.

“I think they’ll be good because they usually win,” he said.

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