The second annual Day in the Park celebration proved to be an exciting day for Ponoka residents.
From a dunk tank to fun activities for children and a chance to stay cool in the splash park, the event, held Friday, Aug. 26, is seen as a way to send off summer and give residents a chance to relax, explained co-organizer Coun. Teri Underhill.
An exciting addition to this year’s day was the inclusion of bubble soccer, where youths and adults were able to climb into a large ball and play a friendly game of soccer while being bowled over by other players. “Those soccer balls were a huge hit,” said Underhill.
Compared to last year there were double the kids and double the events including fireworks that had many people in town talking, she added.
With more people being aware of the day, Underhill expects planners will continue to grow the program. Some feedback she heard includes a few thoughts regarding some potential to expanding the day into a weekend event with a heritage theme for Saturday.
Along with the activities, there were live musicians and singing from the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society.
“I think we have to build on it,” said Underhill.
“My long term goal for this was always for the weekend.”
To ensure the Day in the Park initiative can continue, Underhill said there will be a need for more volunteers to help host the events and provide much needed clean up. That interest is there, too. Underhill has received comments from residents saying they would be willing to help support the day with sponsorship, volunteering or in other ways that are needed. She praised Wes Amendt, director of community services, for taking the extra time to help with clean up.
The dunk tank proved an entertaining fundraiser intended to bring money to the development of a new recreation facility, something the town has in its plans for the future. For $5, people would get three balls to try and dunk local celebrities from Mayor Rick Bonnett to Coun. Marc Yaworski and Ponoka County Coun. Mark Matejka, the goal was to raise as much money as possible. Amendt was there to help press the button if somebody missed the target.
Full numbers were not available at press time but this fundraising initiative followed the recent live viewing of the Tragically Hip at the Kinsmen Community Centre.
The town and county even held a fun soccer match in the bubble soccer balls with the county winning 5-0; redemption from last year’s Day in the Park where county Reeve Paul McLauchlin was pulled into a pool during a tug of war match.
Underhill called the day, “controlled chaos” where everyone knew what needed to be done and the park being full of kids and families. There were even youths from the Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls Club at the event.
“We need more volunteers to continue to make it successful and bigger,” said Underhill.
Anyone wishing to offer their support for next year or provide feedback on the event can email Underhill at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
She added her thanks to the entire committee and the many community groups who helped with the different activities. “There’s just so many people that have made this a success.”