PDT Staff Writer
Smiling children, hot dogs sizzling on the grill, families soaking up the sun and people being painted up like clowns. It’s all part of the Seventh Annual Kiwanis Kids Day Saturday at Tracy Park in Portsmouth.
“It’s our day to celebrate the children of our area and community,” Kiwanis member Rick Morgan said. “We have so many things for them to do. We have face painters, we have the inflatables, the Portsmouth Fire Department is here, we have balloons and food. We have a magician and a little rodeo action, everything you can imagine.”
One of the main features at Tracy Park is the Kiwanis playground.
“It’s getting great use,” Morgan said. “We opened that three years ago next month which is something that is just a part of this and a part of our club, and we’re really proud to have been able to raise the money to build that playground. It is very well used.”
Former Major League standout and former Kiwanis Club president, Al Oliver was helping out.
“You don’t even have to have kids to come to Kids Day,” Oliver said. “We just want people to come out. The thing that has amazed me is so far today and last year, there were several adults that came out and said, ‘can we have hot dogs?’ and it kind of said something deep within me. These people might be struggling, so we’re glad to serve them. We want the kids to have fun. We want the adults to have fun, and we as adults enjoy watching the kids have fun.”
Jenny Lavender has just spent a year as president of Kiwanis, and was beaming at the turnout.
“It has been an amazing year,” Lavender said. “I can’t believe it has already been a year. It has been great, and it has been great today to see these kids come out and have the time of their life. The smiles on the faces makes us glad that we have been able to do this for the community.”
Kids lined up to try to lasso a makeshift steer, while others were chowing down on fresh-popped popcorn, and still others were bouncing around on an inflatable. It looked like the day might never end and none of the kids wanted it to.
“We’re always so glad that we always have such a great turnout and the weather is cooperating,” Morgan said. “We are really glad to do this, and it’s all free.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org