Warm summer weather, and the cool shade of the tall conifers towering over Sellwood Park, made this year's "Sundae in the Park" very inviting for a couple thousand of Sellwood and Westmoreland neighbors on Sunday afternoon, August 4.
"It being our 40th annual 'Sundae' here, it's a big anniversary for us," said Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association Board Member Gail Hoffnagle.
"It's great to see youngsters enjoying wonderful activities, families treating themselves to ice cream sundaes, a raffle with lots of prizes, and great live music and entertainment!" Hoffnagle beamed.
While enjoying the demonstration by Mr. Lizard at one end of the park and Henrik Bothe's juggling and balancing antics at the other, guests lined up for sundaes made from the 42 Umpqua Dairy ice cream and sherbet tubs, and served by Southeast Portland Rotary Club members. Also helping with the task – after their Sunday service elsewhere – were volunteers from Eastbridge Church.
"Sundae in the Park" has taken place in Sellwood Park on the first Sunday in August since 1979, Hoffnagle pointed out – "It's SMILE's version of the 'National Night Out Against Crime' for the neighborhood, starting long before there was such a thing officially!
"'Sundae in the Park' has been going on for 40 years because this is an afternoon where neighbors can get together, meet new neighbors, and have a wonderful time enjoying our park with music and conversation. It keeps our neighborhood strong, and it's a lot of fun!"
Calls for volunteers
But there are two obstacles which raise questions about whether this very popular event can continue next year. "Two of its primary organizers have announced they will retire this year, and the committee is searching for volunteers to help keep this neighborhood tradition alive," Hoffnagle said. "But there are well-organized records and plans for how to put it on, and those who are retiring are eager and willing to personally show a new generation of neighbor volunteers the ropes."
There are also questions about new city policies which threaten to require SMILE to pay thousands of dollars to use the park for this event next year. That might not be a show-stopper, if volunteers do step up to help run Sundae in the Park next year – but it might be the nail in its coffin if they don't.
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