Fun in the sun

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‘Garden in the Park’ event slated for May 9

By Alison James
Associate Editor

Food, fun, handicrafts and fundraising await those who will attend Keep Opelika Beautiful’s annual Garden in the Park.
The always-anticipated arts and crafts festival is set for May 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Opelika Municipal Park. In its tenth year, the event was originally started as a way to raise money to restore the historic caboose, located at the old depot.
“Since that time, we have completely renovated the caboose and done several other projects with money raised from the event,” said Keep Opelika Beautiful’s Tipi Miller.
Throughout the day, a variety of vendors, children’s activities, and live entertainment will be showcased. Items for sale will include handmade jewelry, bags, paintings, bird feeders, personalized items, children’s clothing and pottery.
“It’s a time for our schools to showcase their talents. It’s a time for local artists to showcase their talents,” Miller said.
One attraction this year will be Farmer Brown’s Party Animals. The petting zoo will include, according to Patrick Starr, a camel, alpacas, fainting goats, tortoises, rabbits and an Angus calf.
“I think the children will enjoy the one-on-one contact with the animals,” Starr said. “It is not every day that children can touch and feed a camel or touch a tortoise’s shell. This contact is what makes petting zoos so special. People can learn all about an animal on the Internet or by reading in books, but it is the one on one contact that affects people the most.”
Children will also be able to participate in activities such as the Rocky Brook Rocket, inflatables and Home Depot building kits.
The Lee County Extension Service’s Master Gardeners and Saughatchee Beekeeper Association will also be displaying their exhibits.
Live entertainment will be provided by Jeter and Carver Singers, West Forest Singers, Southview Singers and Northside Singers. Also on stage will be Opelika High School Impressions, Abby Miracle, Make Your Move and Opelika Parks & Rec baton class. Food vendors will be selling barbecue, hotdogs, fish, cakes, pies, smoothies and more.    “It really appeals to everyone,” said Miller, who estimates a 4,000-person turnout for last year’s event.
There is no charge for admission into Garden in the Park, and the event is rain or shine. Food donations will be collected for the East Alabama Food Bank.
With the addition of the petting zoo this year, attendees are requested to leave personal pets at home.
For more information about Garden in the Park, call Keep Opelika Beautiful at (334) 749-4970 or kob@opelika.com.

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