Another successful year for Wilsonville's biggest family festival

VERN UYETAKE - Candence Munson of Dundee shows her skill riding the mechanical bull.

The parking lots of the Wilsonville Town Center were packed Saturday, Aug. 6 as families converged on the Fun in the Park Festival. Packed to the brim and spilling out across the sidewalks, the free family-geared festival kicked off its 16th year with street and stage style performers, interactive games, food, animals, art and sports.

VERN UYETAKE - Simon Chuang with the Civil Air Patrol guides Katie Wenrick through the flight simulator.Held at the Town Center Park, kids — and adults — of all ages took delight in the wide range of activities from the 113 vendor booths and eateries, including face-painters, balloon artists, petting zoo, flight simulators, mechanical bull, old-school carnival games, water slide and airbrush tattoos.

Near the entrance, visitors flocked to the Greater Portland Lego Railroaders’ 10th annual display. This year’s included a light-rail technic Spirograph and neighborhood and recreation of The Hobbit’s Bag End and Lord of the Rings’ The Battle of Helms Deep. Kids pressed their hands and faces against the protective barrier of Plexiglas trying to get a closer look. As one of the GPLR’s largest events of the year, members pull out all of the stops with uniquely made designs each year.

“It’s all up here,” said Richard Lange, member and spokesman for the GPLR, while pointing to his head. “Some things we built so long ago that I think, ‘How did I do that again?’”

At the Creekside Bible Church photo booth and costume closet, kids excitedly rummaged through city provided costumes. New to the photo booth team, local photographer Naomi Luhn was all smiles as kids clamored up onto a row of stools in front of a hand-painted background to strike a pose.

“This is my first year,” said Luhn. “It’s crazy but it’s great!”

Those who wanted to take a break from all of the interactive stopsVERN UYETAKE - Comedic juggler Rhys Thomas entertains a crowd at the Main Stage. pulled up chairs in front of the Main Stage. Comedic juggler Rhys Thomas kept spectators on the edges of their seats as he spun five blue and white ceramic bowls, perched precariously on thin red poles, all while juggling and telling jokes.

However, a trip to the FITP would not be complete without stopping by Jim Alexander’s shady spot for a magic trick. The Master of Marvels wowed and mesmerized with his slight-of-hand tricks that made kids gasp and shriek with delight as he magically transfigured rings, made objects disappear and bended minds with the classic card trick, the Chicago Surprise. Dressed in 19th century garb, Alexander said that he will always come back to the classics even though he has a repertoire of original tricks.

“I think of myself as a folk singer,” said Alexander, “keeping the classics alive.”

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