Bill Beavis was looking for a way to draw more people to Chippewa Park.
Four years ago the city’s former parks and recreation director found it, creating Chippewa Family Fun Day. The event drew more than 2,000 people to the park that year, on the final Sunday and June, and it’s become an annual tradition ever since.
“I was born and raised in Westfort and I can remember as a kid I walked all the way out here to have fun at Chippewa,” he said, the sun shining down brightly all around him Sunday afternoon.
“Years later I became manager of parks and recreation and I got renewed energy into Chippewa Park. It’s always been close to my heart. So my kids and I decided maybe we should have a fun day out here, and it got going good.”
Beavis and his family have taken a step back this year, as age is starting to catch up with the former city employee.
But the effort is just the same, said Bill Lafontaine, past-president of the Friends of Chippewa Park, the organization that’s taken the reins in 2012.
“It’s kind of a school’s out type thing. It’s a free event. We have a bunch of games organized for the kids and their families. The games are both inside and outside. And at two o’clock we have a scavenger hunt, for the families,” Lafontaine said.
“Everybody this year that registers, all the children will get a free ride ticket for the rides. And at the end of the day, there are lots of door prizes for both adults and children.”
Lafontaine agreed with Beavis, saying it’s a way to bring awareness to the park.
“It brings people to look at the park and see what it’s all about,” he said, hoping for a crowd of at least 1,500 after two successive years plagued by rain.
“We have to admit, a lot of people have not been out here since the renovations have happened over the past year or so.”
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