WEEKEND — Activities, food, fun at Port Angeles’ Dream Playground’s Family Fun Day on Saturday

PORT ANGELES — The Dream Playground’s Family Fun Day is Saturday.

Children’s activities, Coast Guard and fire equipment, and free ice cream, popcorn and soda will be available at the playground at Erickson Park at Fourth and Race streets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’ve got a lot planned, so we’d love to see a lot of families come out,” said Dream Playground Foundation President Steve Charno.

Annual maintenance work on the 12,000-square-foot facility — which features brightly colored equipment and a totem pole by master carver Al Charles Jr., donated by the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe — was done in early August.

So this weekend is just for fun, and it’s all free.

“It’s a day of all play and no work,” Charno said. “We just want the kids to come and have fun.”

A craft area for children will be set up in the pavilion.

“Lots of kids and families will be out and about with soccer and other events that day, and we’re hoping they’ll stop by after their games for an ice cream and some playtime,” Charno said.

“We’d love to see people bring picnic lunches and enjoy them in the pavilion and at the park.”

Anniversary

The foundation hosts the free event every year near the anniversary of the playground’s construction over five days in September 2002.

More than 2,000 volunteers built the playground in one of the largest volunteer projects Clallam County has ever seen.

The construction was intentionally started Sept. 11, 2002, “as a statement that hope and the American spirit remain strong and will move forward in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks of 2001,” Charno said.

Local commitment

The playground committee and Kiwanis raised more than $185,000, nearly all from local businesses and individuals, to pay for the construction. Many local material donations have been made as well.

The first weekend of August, dozens of volunteers applied fresh wood sealant, did light repairs, repainted several features, installed new sponsor pickets and performed general cleanup and beautification.

“The maintenance went well, and the structure is ready for another year of use,” Charno said. “Port Angeles’ playground has a service life of 20 to 30 years, depending on how well it is maintained. Our goal is to keep it in great shape through annual volunteer maintenance until we eventually need to replace it.”

Kiwanis Club of Port Angeles and Kiwanis Foundation of Port Angeles have been founding sponsors and major supporters of the playground effort.

Other current major sponsors are First Federal, the Albert Haller Foundation, the Benjamin N. Phillips Fund of the Seattle Foundation, Gibson Design Group, Aldergrove Construction Inc., the firefighters of Port Angeles, Peninsula Children’s Clinic, Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co., Sterling Savings Bank, Family Medicine of Port Angeles and 7 Cedars Casino.

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