More than 250 people celebrated what the city of Akron has to offer at the 9th Annual Growing Up Akron, a benefit for Akron Child Guidance and Family Solutions on Friday evening.

This year’s honorary chairs were Sharon and Marc Merklin.

“I’m from Michigan and I like all of the new things coming out in the community and I want to be a part of it,” said Katie Jacque. She volunteered to help with the event along with Katherine Bercik and Tiffany Sandels. Committee members included Michael Batu, Rainy Boucher, Luca D’Ortenzio, Terri Nagy, Audrey Noll and Jennifer Riley.

First time attendee Dorothy Wiseman said, “I’m looking forward to good music and just mingling.”

“This brings back so many memories of growing up here,” said Karen Krino. Gary Rickel added, “It’s a small town but a great community to be a part of.”

Erik Bruckmann and Drew Posan created a special flank steak for the occasion. They joined Shirlene Kramer from the Hilton Garden Inn to create a signature food to showcase.

“All of our designs are about Akron,” said Angela Roloff, who along with Leonard Morgan set up a Rubber City Clothing display.

“I enjoy trying the local beers,” said Ted George of Copley who attended with his wife Debbie George.

Peg Foundation representative Victoria Romanda said, “Our organization donates to arts and education as well as mental health causes in Summit County.”

“The funds raised tonight will provide so many services to children with behavioral and mental health issues,” said CEO of Akron Child Guidance Karen Talbott.

Dan Semdro said, “I come here every year because it’s a great event.”

Music was provided by Roxxymoron.