by Virginia Adams Marentette
Vice president of Friends of Forest Hills Playground
Last Sunday, Forest Hills came out to play! On the morning of October 26th, the neighborhood came out in force for the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the new playground, and for the famous annual Halloween bash.
Mayor Vincent Gray, Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh, ANC Commissioner Sally Gresham, Friends of Forest Hills Playground President Alexandra Chalupa and representatives from the Department of General Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation spoke before they cut the red ribbon and declared the playground open.
During and after the brief remarks, the kids played, showed off their costumes and checked out the Halloween festivities. There were multiple art stations and games for the kids to play, not to mention the exciting new playground equipment to check out. Some grownups (many in costume themselves!) even found time to check out the new adult exercise equipment and admire the newly installed rain gardens.
The new community circle/mini amphitheater was christened by its first show: A performance of the Witchy Witch Comedy Circus. Witchy Witch delighted all ages with her jokes and tricks. The grand finale featured her riding an extra tall unicycle while also spinning a plate on a stick and juggling bowling pins!
Following the performance, the children participated in a costume parade around the park, led by emcee Jake Tapper. At the end of the parade, there were treats to be had for everyone.
As fabulous as the park is now, it will only get better. A permanent chalk board will be installed for children to explore their creative side and shade structures will be installed over some of the picnic tables.
The Halloween party is hosted each year by the Friends of Forest Hills Playground (FOFHP). A number of volunteers who gave us their time and yummy baked goods made it all possible. Girl Scout Troop 6088 helped the little ones with arts and crafts and the grownups with clean up after the party. Parent volunteers ran the bake sale (featuring Starbucks coffee for the older revelers), candy jar guessing games, candy corn bowling and for the first time this year, a silent auction. We thank neighborhood businesses Tesoro and Child’s Play for donating auction items.
FOFHP is a small non-profit whose sole purpose is to make Forest Hills Playground the best it can be. The group was founded in 1999 and continues to be run by neighborhood parents. FOFHP organizes regular park clean-up days and provides maintenance that DPR will not, such as replacing the sand in the sand box. The group recently refurbished the bulletin board outside the park, as that work was not included in the renovation.
FOFHP also plans to install a permanent lost-and-found box inside the playground. Come spring, we’d like to host regular community events in the new community circle.
If you would like to stay up-to-date on playground news or get involved, you can join the FOFHP listserv on Yahoo Groups, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. FOFHP is always looking for members.
And here are more photos of the festivities!