Back to Nature Touts Reasons to Head Outside
Central Ohioans can find out how to enjoy nearby parks, trails and waterways at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Friday: Back to Nature, the second of six community block parties in this popular series sponsored by the Westerville Visitors & Convention Bureau.
Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Friday: Back to Nature will be held on May 26, 2017 from 6-9p.m. in Historic Uptown Westerville and will feature 100+ street vendors, food, later shopping hours, live entertainment and displays by both major central Ohio metro park systems.
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks will be represented by naturalists from Inniswood Metro Gardens and Sharon Woods Metro Park. Inniswood will have information about its summer programming, including its programs for children ages 8 and younger focusing on Ohio’s state tree, state frog, state bird and state fruit.
Sharon Woods will have a live Gray Rat Snake an American Toad and an Eastern Box Turtle for attendees to meet, said naturalist Allison Shaw. “We want to education the public about conservation. People always think about the rainforest or African safari, but there are really cool things right here in their own backyard,” Shaw said.
New this year, Preservation Parks of Delaware County will be on hand with information about the free nature programs in the parks, the launch of “Into the Ice Age,” and more. “This is the first Westerville 4th Friday we have attended, and we’re excited to be a part of the event,” said Sue Hagan, Preservation Parks’ communications manager. “After all, part of Westerville is in Delaware County.”
Hagan said park staff and volunteers plan to distribute a summer program guide, highlighting everything going on in the parks this summer. That includes the “Into the Ice Age” program, which begins that day and will involve full-size replicas of Ice Age animals in the parks.
Westerville Parks and Recreation will also have a table with information about the city’s award winning department, 2,000 annual programs, 27 parks and more than 30 miles of leisure trails.
The Westerville Bicycle Club encourages attendees to ride their bikes to 4th Friday and will keep bikes secure during the event in its free Bike Corral on W. Main St., behind the Middlefield Banking Co.
AAA Ohio Auto Club and Hertz will provide a shuttle service from the Westerville Senior Center, 310 W. Main St. to the Westerville Visitors Bureau, 20 W. Main St. every 15 minutes, beginning at 6p.m. and will take folks back to their cars after the event.
Westerville Public Library is giving families with kids, infants through age five, the opportunity to come to the library before 4th Friday starts to hear stories. “4th Friday Stories” will be held from 5:15-5:45p.m. in the Youth Services Activity Center at the Library, 126 S. State St.
Once the event begins, kids ages two to 10 will enjoy “4th Friday Fun” with the Library as part of “Party in the Via” a new area located just north of the Municipal Building, 21 S. State St. This month, kids can dig in the dirt with a plant-themed activity that they can take home and watch grow. “Party in the Via” will also feature a caricature artist, ice pop vendor, Mix 107.9, Aspire Theatre Studio and the Pink Limo from Sweet and Sassy. Children will also enjoy the Rock & Jump Kids Corner on E. College Ave., featuring bounce houses for those 10 and under.
The Pray, Think, Love House will be open from 6-9pm as both a restroom stop and a baby-changing station. You are invited to tour the newly purchased and remodeled building at 30 E. College Ave. which is owned by St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. It will also serve as the gateway to Arts Alley, sponsored by the Arts Council of Westerville, which will feature the works of local artists as well as a musical offering.
The Amish Originals Music Stage will host Grassahol at the corner of North State and E. Home Streets. During their breaks at 6:45 and 7p.m there will be not-to-be-missed performances by Fred Astaire Dance Studio and The Academy: Irish Dance. Generations Performing Arts Center will put on their show from 6-7:15p.m. on W. College Ave., followed by Xcel Martial Arts at 7:30.
Because of construction taking place in the Municipal Building Courtyard, the Westerville City Safety Forces will sponsor a combined display in the parking lot of Union Savings Bank, 44 S. State St. The Police Division will offer free digital fingerprinting and the Fire Division will have its fire and rescue vehicles for kids and adults to explore.
Once 4th Friday is over, attendees are encouraged to visit the Field of Heroes, 325 N. Cleveland Ave., and take in the breathtaking display of 3,000 American flags sponsored by the Westerville Sunrise Rotary. The display can be viewed day or night throughout Memorial Day weekend. For more information about Field of Heroes, visit www.fieldofheroes.org.
Questions about Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Fridays can be directed to WVCB Executive Director Jeff Hartnell or Marketing Coordinator Glenda Mihaly, 614-794-0401.