Larry Williams fends off grandson JaNorris Terrell II, 5, in a balloon sword fight Saturday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)
FOREST PARK — There’s nothing like a play sword fight between a little boy and his grandpa and the thrill is only heightened when the weapons were created from balloons by a clown.
It was in that sort of atmosphere that hundreds of people frolicked in Starr Park Saturday and enjoyed old-fashioned games that most of the 21st century kids had never before experienced.
Because there was something for everyone, multi-generations of families turned out to enjoy the festivities. LaTegan Terrell of Morrow strolled through with not only her husband and kids but her father.
“We heard about it and have gone to other events here,” said Terrell. “It’s always fun and it’s good to get the kids out of the house.”
She and husband JaNorris Terrell I and daughter JaDen Terrell, 7, and son JaNorris Terrell II, 5, stopped with her dad, Larry Williams, to visit Lee Andrews. Andrews performed Saturday in his clown persona, Lew-E, and shaped items out of colored balloons.
Williams and his grandson snagged balloon swords and began to parry and thrust, to both their delights.
Andrews also held his own “educational circus” where he juggled balls and bowling pins and performed magic acts for an audience of all ages.
The occasion was the 50th anniversary of Forest Park’s offerings of leisure services. Director Elaine Corley was also honored for being with the department for its entry.
Corley said she remembered when the department was forced to entertain youth with simple activities because of economics.
Games included three-legged and sack races, watermelon-eating contest, horseshoe throwing, corn-shucking contest and a simple carnival game involving throwing a ping pong ball into plastic bowls.
She joked that not much has changed.
“We’re doing old-fashioned games like we did in the beginning when we didn’t have much money,” she announced from the stage. “Much like now.”
Mayor David Lockhart presented Corley with a proclamation in recognition of her 50 years with the city and declared Monday “Evelyn Elaine Corley Day.”
There was talk months ago that Corley might retire this year. Not so, she said.
“As long as I’m having fun and the people are happy, I’m hanging in as long as they’ll let me hang in,” she said.
Retired Public Works Director Mike Gippert attended the celebration and said Corley serves as an inspiration to her fellow employees and residents.
“A big thank you and kudos for a wonderful career helping the children as well as adults of our city find a little fun and relaxation over the years,” he said.
Gippert is running against Lockhart in the Nov. 5 elections, as is former Mayor Pro Tem Sparkle Adams, who came out to the event with her family. Other candidates who attended were Ward 1 Councilman Tommy Smith and Ward 2 candidate Luke Gawel.