The 2011 Picnic In the Park continues to grow, offering even more family-friendly events than before. This year's community summer celebration, taking place Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 at Memorial Park in St. Marys, features a variety of activities, games, food, entertainment and vendors.
"This is a pro-social, pro-community, pro-family event. It allows neighbors to meet neighbors, and when you invest in families this way you can produce better citizens and better people," said St. Marys City Police Chief Todd Caltagarone. "Also, this event showcases our local parks. St. Marys has a park system that rivals other cities."
Together, the St. Marys City Police Department, St. Marys Recreation Department and The River 98.9 radio station have teamed up to host the event, with proceeds benefitting the St. Marys Christian Food Bank. The event is free to attend and open to the general public.
"There are a lot of things a small community has to offer, and this really means a lot. It's great to see people walking by and greeting each other and being together in a non-confrontational, fun atmosphere," said Denny Posteraro, Memorial Park manager. "Since 'staycations' are becoming more and more popular, Picnic in the Park is something you can do in your own backyard.
"We are pushing people to think about staying home and recreating here first. Our parks have activities going on all summer. This is a great time for people to enjoy themselves and de-stress."
Patrons are encouraged to support the food bank by bringing non-perishable food items or a monetary donation to the event.
"Picnic in the Park is an inexpensive way to enjoy community camaraderie," said Betsy Roberts of the food bank. "We live in a very generous community and Picnic in the Park is a way for the community to help out our less fortunate neighbors, and we appreciate that."
Roberts stated that through Picnic in the Park proceeds last year, the food bank assisted 333 families, serving over 700 individuals.
The 15-member Picnic in the Park committee is comprised of representatives from area organizations, agencies and businesses. Some of the new events and features they planned for this year are new bands, a pet parade and a motorcycle toy run.