LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As an annual Louisville tradition approaches, community members gathered Tuesday in preparation for the Juice Bowl at Shawnee Park.

More than 50 community leaders and residents of west Louisville joined hands at King Solomon Baptist Church in the California neighborhood. Last year at the Juice Bowl, seven people were shot, two of them fatally, after gunfire erupted in the park. Game organizers said this year will be different.

“It’s all coming together: police, the community, the organizers, they all came together," said Neal Robertson of West Louisville Urban Coalition. "And as you see, the pastors are all coming together for one common goal."

Police officers will be located at the park this year during the game, and the drag race is being replaced by a bike show to help increase safety.

Tuesday’s meeting began with a moment of prayer and singing. Several residents and King Solomon’s pastor spoke to the group. Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad also attended the event.

 As the event wrapped up, the group held hands and said another prayer that violence will not stop an annual tradition from happening ever again.

“We will come back and make the Juice Bowl strong," community activist Christopher 2X. said. "It’s not about the numbers that show up. It’s about the hearts and passion that gives the love that makes the Juice Bowl what it is."

The day’s events will begin with a balloon release around 9 a.m. Thursday.

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