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People come from all over -- even way out of town -- to attend this neighborhood party

DAVID F. ASHTON - Alice Orton gives helped entertainer Rhys Thomas juggle giant beanbags - in a featured act at Sundae in the Park this year. For the 38th year, the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association presented a full day of fun, "Sundae in the Park", on August 6 in Sellwood Park.

"It's the tenth year that I've been working on this event, along with community members such as SMILE Vice President Gail Hoffnagle, Secretary Eric Norberg, Dana Beck, and a representative from Loaves and Fishes – now called 'The Meals on Wheels People' – which is the main beneficiary of the event," said the event's Chair, former SMILE President Nancy Walsh.

"This is a wonderful, low-key way for people to get together and have fun enjoying free entertainment, listening to good music, getting information about zoning, land-use, the neighborhood association, neighborhood emergency readiness, and neighborhood history, as well," Walsh told THE BEE. Not to mention the inexpensive ice cream sundaes that are the namesake of the event.

"And, several of our local churches have stepped up, and are providing the arts, crafts, and games," Walsh added.

As new neighbors come into the neighborhood, the annual "Sundae in the Park" helps connect the newcomers with their neighbors, neighborhood activities, and volunteer activities, Walsh said. "It's really great to see all the children here having fun. It seemed like our neighborhood was aging, but now again our neighborhoods are filled with kids!"

Members and friends of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club were once again busily reaching into five-gallon buckets of Umpqua vanilla and chocolate ice cream for double scoops, and providing tasty toppings for visitors to make each serving a sundae.

Many people also purchased a hot dog or hamburger lunch from the booth set up by Thelma Skelton Center's Meals on Wheels People, until 2 p.m. this year. "This is a benefit for our Center, and helps support our mission of serving more than 5,000 meals a day to homebound seniors, and to seniors the center," smiled Director Diane Jensen.

"And, it also bring awareness to the community about what we do, and of our need for volunteers," said Jensen, adding that potential volunteers can reach her by e-mail at – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the late afternoon, thanks to sponsorship from the Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance, Portland Parks & Recreation's "Movie in the Park" crew moved in to set up their giant portable movie screen, while the band "Amanda Richards & The Good Long Whiles" played. At dusk, the film shown this year was the recent Warner Brothers animated movie "Storks".

Families flocking to Sellwood Park that day had fun playing games, listening to the live bands, laughing while Rhys Thomas juggled, and enjoying generous yet inexpensive ice cream sundaes.

Enough one-dollar sundaes were served that $1,300 was raised in this benefit.

But, perhaps the cherry topping on this Sundae at the Park is the relationships built each year among Sellwood and Westmoreland neighbors, all enjoying a sunny and warm day at the park on the first Sunday each August.

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