It was an evening of celebration, laughter, and love. On Friday kids scrambled all over the new purple playground in Elizabeth Park in Hartford dedicated to Ana Grace Marquez-Greene.
"It's just a way she lives on, and as a parent who's lost a child so young, you do want your children to live on. And this is a way for us to do that," said Ana's mom Nelba Marquez-Greene.
Born in Hartford, Ana spent a lot of time at the park, so it was important her playground stood there. It's all part of the Sandy Ground Project, which is building 26 playgrounds for each of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Covered with her artwork, Ana's opened on what would have been her eighth birthday.
"Give a little window of joy to these families that have suffered so much is our privilege, our blessing," said Bill Lavin, founder of The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play Foundation.
During the ceremony everyone learned and danced a bit of salsa, something Ana would do. Her mom handed out books from Ana's own collection. She gave Governor Dannel Malloy The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
As soon as the ribbon was cut the kids climbed inside to take a look around and play the instruments Ana loved.
Her family hopes kids play there for years to come and that it will be a place of peace and ring with laughter in remembrance of their little girl.
"Every time a kid gets on that playscape and plays and touches a note on the piano or touches their hands to the bongos so music will rise into the air, hopefully Ana will be remembered with the beauty and the person that she was," said Ana's dad, Jimmy Greene.
The next playground will be built in honor of seven-year-old Grace McDonnell. The project will begin on April 24th in Mystic.