Since opening in January, the World of Discovery at Crockett Park, Oakley’s all-abilities playground, has been a destination for Oakley families looking to enjoy some fresh air and quality time with their loved ones. But to enhance that sense of community, Janet Frazier, wife of Councilman Jim Frazier, wanted to host a city-sponsored event that would encourage families to come together and interact with other members of the community.
“Picnic in the Park was a nice way to introduce families to other families in their neighborhood,” Janet said. “Life is so busy that it’s nice to spend just a few hours at the park and watch your kids play. This was a low-key event designed to encourage families to meet in a welcoming setting.”
Janet said she enjoyed watching the kids making new friends and playing with children of all abilities, doing what kids do best – have fun.
Aside from the multi-faceted playground, there were plenty of activities for the children to enjoy at Saturday’s event. Students from Freedom High School’s art classes set up a face painting station, while Knucklehead the clown joked around with the kids while making balloon animals. Children also enjoyed coloring and arts and crafts at a Dr. Seuss-themed table hosted by Freedom High’s environmental awareness club FRESHH.
Members of the city’s You, Me, We = Oakley program, which offers an assortment of community events to encourage social interaction between residents, also operated a booth to inform guests about upcoming programs. The group hosted an activity that got strangers talking to each other, and soon even the adults were making new friends, said Frazier.
“I enjoyed Picnic in the Park because it allowed me and my family the opportunity to meet and get to know other Oakley residents,” said George Tang, who recently moved to Oakley. “It was a wonderful event where I also had the opportunity to meet Mayor Kevin Romick. I enjoyed the event because it made me feel welcomed in this community. (An event like this) is part of the charm that made me love the Oakley community in the first place.”
Mayor Romick interacted with residents, taking the time to chat up even Oakley’s youngest. Romick said the event was great and looks forward to more events like this taking place in Oakley.
Frazier said Picnic in the Park is merely the first of what she hopes will be many community-oriented events at Crockett Park. “Ideally, we’d like to host an event in the fall and the spring. We want to host some educationally-themed events that get families together to enjoy the park while learning something new. There are so many possibilities.”