Story by Kristina Hoti
Warwick Playground Dreams hosted the “Play for the Park Summerfest” on Sat., Aug. 19 at the Warwick Town Park. The event kicked off at 12 noon and the festivities went until 8 p.m. with live music and over 50 local vendors, food trucks, bounce houses, games, activities, and face painting. A car show was part of the festivities and the Florida, Pine Island and Warwick Fire Departments were represented with trucks onsite. The fire departments also offered car seat safety checks.
The event was held as a benefit for Warwick Playground Dreams with just a $5 suggested donation per adult entry and free for children. Warwick Playground Dreams is an organization formed originally by local parents interested in refurbishing Stanley-Deming Park in the Village of Warwick. The organization is now a full-blown non-profit with sponsorship from the County Foundation of Orange and Sullivan.
Event organizer, Nicole McCormick, spoke to the large crowd gathering to eat, play and enjoy the warm summer day. Included in the plans the group hopes to actualize, she explained, are a play area safe for children as young as age one, an ADA-accessible merry-go-round, a splash pad, and activities for children with sensory sensitivities.
The refurbishment plans for the park aim to create “a playground for every child,” offering access to children with a wider range of needs than what the park currently accommodates. It is hoped that these much-needed opportunities for children with disabilities to experience safe outdoor play will allow for increased interaction with other children in the community, helping them to more readily accept children with differences.
Megan Cardenas is one of the founding members of Warwick Playground Dreams. Her son, Derek, age two, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She hopes that one day Derek can play at the park with his six-year-old brother, Alex. “I love that a merry-go-round spins and can go really fast. I like that I can jump on and off. It would be special because I could go on with my brother!” Alex said.
There are many ways that members of the community can sponsor Warwick Playground Dreams. Bricks, pavers, and even pieces of playground equipment can be sponsored by individuals, families, or businesses and volunteers of all ages are needed. Children in the community have even set up lemonade stands and donated the proceeds to Warwick Playground Dreams.
The Warwick Drive-In Theatre has partnered to host the next event, which will be on the opening night of the Lego Movie, scheduled for September. In October, the “Trunk or Treat,” which will take place at the Warwick Valley Middle School campus, will honor Warwick Playground Dreams, and on Sat., Nov. 18, a Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser will take place at Pin Street Bowling, located at 154 Rte. 94 S. in Warwick.