The Picnic in the Park event, spearheaded by the Alta Vista and Terrace Gardens neighborhood associations was wildly successful - even under threatening skies.
The groundbreaking ceremony that signaled the beginning of the transformation of the Payne Park "Trailer Camp" site into the signature city park was well attended. Estimates from the organizers were at 1000 people.
The event was free - over 1000 hot dogs were served up, many gallons of ice cream and popcorn, soda, cookies, brownies, and veggies rounded out the picnic fare.
The crowd was very diverse, with multiple ages, ethnicities, and areas of the county well represented by the families that enjoyed the happening. Many politicians showed up to talk with real people - candidates in races for judge, county commissioner, school board, congress, state legislature all shook hands, smiled and passed out stickers and literature.
Commissioners and dignitaries mucked around in the dirt, Kelly Kirshner, president of the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association, spoke about how much this park will mean to the city and the nearby neighborhoods, bands played for listeners and dancers, raffle prizes were won, kids threw frisbees and had their faces painted .
A movie was shown and the party ended - for now. There was much talk about repeating the event next year when real progress is expected to be seen at the park site.