BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
Summer in the Park, a United Way of Lee County fundraising event hosted by the city of Opelika, will bring a variety of food, activities and special guests to Opelika’s Municipal Park on Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We hope that Summer in the Park helps raise awareness about all of the great things United Way of Lee County does for our community,” said Leigh Krehling, event coordinator and president of the United Way of Lee County. “Their partner agencies help people in times of crisis, as well as find solutions for everyday challenges.”
Attendees will see the return of the duck race this year, a staple that has entertained both children and adults since it was first implemented in 2019. It will begin at noon.
“I love the duck race at Summer in the Park,” said Tipi Miller, executive director of United Way of Lee County. “It’s a creative [and] fun way to get children involved in the event.”
This year’s main attraction, though, will be “Burgers and Badges”. The cookoff will see Opelika’s fire department and police department battle it out to see who can grill up the best hamburger. The first responders will serve plenty of meals to hungry attendees throughout the event.
“They get highly competitive, and it’s a ton of fun to watch them” Krehling said. Miller added that the burger competition “is really going strong this year.”
Other highlights this year will include a visit from Auburn University mascot Aubie and train rides through the park, which will run from 10 a.m. to noon.
All proceeds from Summer in the Park will benefit United Way of Lee County and the 22 local agencies it serves, which specialize in either health, crisis, education or strengthening families and community. The event also raises awareness for United Way and all it has to offer.
“These funds are very important to the agencies, and most importantly, to the individuals we serve,” Miller said. “Summer in the Park is also a great opportunity for people to learn about the United Way programs and how we can serve the community.
“For example, many people don’t know that we have a 211 program. Through this program, anyone can call 211 to receive information on assistance for social service needs. We receive calls for assistance for topics such as food insecurity, senior adult programs and utility assistance, just to name a few.”
According to Krehling, Summer in the Park has raised about $4,000 in the past. The proceeds from this event are added to a total contribution, and in January, Miller said a group of local volunteers will meet to review the amount requested by each agency and decide how much money each will receive.
“We are lucky to have such a great team at United Way, and I am truly grateful to the employees who give and want to make a difference in Opelika,” Krehling said.
Municipal Park is located on Park Road in Opelika. For more information on Summer in the Park, visit @CityofOpelika on Facebook. To learn more about the local chapter of United Way, visit unitedwayofleecounty.com.