SummerFest returns for fourth year to provide summer fun in Berkley

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published June 24, 2015

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BERKLEY — With nine parks spread across Berkley, residents might not visit other parks that are farther from their homes.


For the fourth consecutive year, the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting SummerFest, a series of events that span June 24-Aug. 25, and inviting the community to visit several parks for free activities.


“I think some people aren’t aware of some of the parks in town, because if you live in one part of town, you might not have had the occasion to go to one of the other parks,” Recreation Programming Leader Scott Jennex said. “We want them to come out and see what a great job our staff does of keeping the parks up and maintained, and these are just beautiful outdoor recreation opportunities in town for all of our residents.”


SummerFest was started four years ago when the National Recreation and Park Association established July as National Park and Recreation Month. Jennex said SummerFest began as a July celebration but has expanded into June and August.


The event will kick off at 5 p.m. June 24 with the Lil Tykes Tot Lot Night at the Kiwanis Tot Lot, located on Cambridge Road between Stanford Road and Cass Boulevard in the southeast corner of the city. Children will have the chance to play on an inflatable water slide, have their faces painted, eat snow cones and play several kids’ games.


“The event has always been well-attended, as we did a grand reopening of the event in the past, and last year we had between 250 and 300 people come through during the three hours,” Jennex said. “Tot Lot is such a small park in our southeast corner that we don’t do much programming there, so we like to have an event there for the community nearby to be able to walk to or bike to.”


The Community Garage Sale is one of the bigger events to take place during SummerFest, and this year the event will be held all day June 26-27. Residents have three options to participate in the Community Garage Sale — sell at their homes; rent tables at the Community Center, 2400 Robina Ave.; or sell from their trunks in the Community Center parking lot.


Jennex said about 115 households participated in the Community Garage Sale last year between the three options. He expects a similar turnout this time around.


“It is a big advantage for the individual family trying to have a sale, because there is going to be a lot more traffic because there are sales all over,” he said. “If they register with (the city), they get their address on a map that people can pick up at various places around the city or see online, and then they know where to look for sales. And they get a sign, so it is cheaper in the future for them to participate.”


Senior Activity Day will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. July 8 at the Community Center, and a community picnic will be held from noon-3 p.m. July 18 at Community Park, just outside the Community Center.


To close out July, the department will host the Jaycee Park Jamboree at Jaycee Park, located on West Webster Road between Bacon and Phillips avenues. Like the Lil Tykes Tot Lot Night, the city will offer several inflatables and games for children, as well as music and activities for adults.


“Jaycee Park is the first park I remember playing at, as my grandma lived down the street in the ’60s,” Jennex said. “It is a fun event for people on the north part of town to come and have a fun time, and families can easily get there by walking or biking.”


Parks and Recreation Director Art Serafinski, who was hired at the end of May, said that events like SummerFest are a big reason why he wanted to come to Berkley.


“I think one reason I came to Berkley was the rich history of summer events, and the SummerFest is one of them,” he said. “It brings the community together to create a tight-knit group where the community supports the city and vice versa. It is what makes Berkley such a livable community with all of these events.”


SummerFest will close out the summer with a family movie night at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at Community Park, and an ice cream social from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Community Center. The ice cream social also acts as an open house for fall programs, as instructors for all of the adult and children’s classes will be present.


While SummerFest is great for promoting the city’s parks, Jennex said it also is about bringing the community together.


“This is a great chance for neighbors to come out and have kids play together, and they can have a fun time just casually meeting people and reconnecting with other residents,” he said. “We just want residents to come out and have a good time and enjoy our parks.”

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