Town Center Park transforms into playground for all ages

by: JOSH KULLA - Fun in the Park is exemplified by Cha Cha the clown and other roving revelers who transform Town Center Park into a playground for all ages each year. The concept of “fun” sounds simple on the surface.

But transforming that into a full-fledged event that holds interest for thousands of different people? That’s a whole different ballgame.

Fortunately for Wilsonville residents, the folks in charge of Fun in the Park have the whole routine wired down tight. The 13th annual Fun in the Park festival is Saturday, Aug. 3, from 10 a. m. to 5 p.m. in Town Center Park in Wilsonville.

Involving more than 150 community-based organizations and 600-plus volunteers, the event years ago became a Wilsonville signature. It even encompasses the state’s only women’s prison, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, which contributes inmates to help set up and tear down event infrastructure.

“They’ve done a great job for them,” said Wilsonville Rotarian and Clackamas County Chairman John Ludlow, who has worked with inmates as part of his involvement with the Rotary Club’s Through a Child’s Eyes program for inmates and their children, Fun in the Park and the Wilsonville Festival of Arts. “They put the tents up for the three events. It’s very helpful for the community, and these women that work, they’re the same ones who put up the tents at TACE and they know how to work.”

Now in its 13th year, the annual Fun in the Park festival is an offshoot of the former Wilsonville Celebration Days. The first “Fun” event was held in October 2000, and helped usher in a transition from the old, pioneer-focused Boones Ferry Days that ran from 1970 through 1999.

Fun in the Park is free to the public through a massive collaboration of local business, volunteers, community groups, city government, churches, schools and much more.

This summer is no different. From the creative, decorative and reactive, to the creaturely, sportive and lively, the entertainment is as varied as the list is long. by:  JOSH KULLA - Bounce houses and other inflatables are always popular, while there also will be pony rides and main stage entertainment, including Lees Martial Arts Academy Demonstration Team.

Starting with the main stage, where acts as diverse as taekwondo and live rock music share space with comedic jugglers and other entertainers, the fun spreads in concentric rings out to the edges of the park.

Speaking of main stage, the fun starts at 10:15 a.m. with Lee’s Martial Arts Academy before moving on to the Rocket Hounds country-rock band, juggler Curt Carlyle and Wilsonville High a cappella vocal group Soul’d Out. From there, it only continues, with Innovative Dance Studio performers, the Katie Rose Trio and Radio Disney to round things out at 4 p.m.

In between acts, you can take a walk through the park, where you’ll be guaranteed to run into one or more roving revelers.

Starting with Fun in the Park veteran Cha Cha the Clown, played by Regina Wollrabe, and her sons, Rudy, Andre and Eddie, the revelers travel throughout the park serving up impromptu performances.

There will be juggler Curt Carlyle, Balloon Man Joe Mishkin, nationally renowned magician Scott Anderson, even free rides on the South Metro Area Transit trolley.

If that’s not enough, the massive circuit of fun booths dedicated to arts, sports, crafts, food, community service and more should do the trick. And that’s on top of the massive collection of inflatable attractions, both with and without water, on which kids can bounce and slide around to their hearts’ content.

If creatures are your thing, KC’s Exotic Bird Rescue will show off a variety of parrots and other birds, while Stephen Lattanzi’s Creature Feature will give kids an up close and personal view of various reptile species.

Virtually everything at Fun in the Park is free. The one exception is food and drink, where a dozen or more food and snack vendors will ply their trade in exchange for a small profit. The rest is free, and it’s one of the many points of pride among event organizers.

This year, find out for yourself how much fun there is to be had in one place at one time. And definitely bring the kids.

by: JOSH KULLA - Main stage entertainment includes Lee's Martial Arts Academy Demonstration Team.

At a Glance

Fun in the Park:

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3

Town Center Park

29250 SW Parkway Ave.

Free, open to the public


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