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Gem city days

Updated: Sunday, July 6 2014, 03:12 PM EDT


Residents from all over Jefferson County made their way to Toronto, for the 14th annual Gem City Day.

Organizers said this year’s turnout was the biggest they've seen in years.

The money raised goes to scholarships, emergency grants, plus other festivals held throughout the year.

"We're in charge of emergency grants we give out to people in need in the town, we give out a scholarship to graduation students at Toronto High School, all of these events and everything we do is funded by that turtle race,” said Justin Poole, Director of Focus in Toronto.

The turtle race includes 1,000 plastic turtles that race down the Ohio River.

And while organizers of "Focus in Toronto" hope to sell about 600 turtles to raise the money they need they also aim to grow Gem City Day by adding something new each year, this year 20 vendors set up shop feature cookies, clothes and a list of other products.

"We really want to focus on them because all of these events are about sustaining our economy around our town and around the area and help these people thrive,” said Poole.

"We make the wooden crafts and we have the wooden ladders, i make the jams and jellies, just a little bit of everything,” said Kim Decker, owner of Kim’s Boutiques.

Another added addition, a rock climbing wall and the dunk tank sponsored by the titan football team.

"We had quite a few kids own here and myself and coach behind me we're going in the water about every minute or two so it's been a good turnout so far,” said Matt Ludewig, head coach of the varsity Titan football team.

Contests were endless from watermelon eating; even chalk contests where kids got a chance to draw patriotic images in the middle of all the action

Organizers said they are looking forward to an even bigger crowd for Toronto’s Big Arts Festival that takes place in August.

Gem city days

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