By Emily Klein, Reporter
The Collinsville Parks Department, despite difficulties with the weather, still plans to host many events and activities around the city for the summer.
Weather in the area, with frequent storms and rain, hasn’t been the best for outdoor programming. Baseball and softball games have been rained out multiple times, and the Aqua Park has had to close frequently for inclement weather. The department posts weather updates and closures on the park’s Facebook page.
“It is one of the most frustrating parts of the parks and recreation field. Our public has got to feel the frustration of the rescheduling and cancellations. The department will work to continually improve the way the weather affects our programs,” said Parks Director Kimberly Caughran.
Despite the unpredictable weather, the attendance for the Aqua Park has been steady. The end of June brought hot weather, and the park has been extremely busy ever since, according to Caughran.
The Collinsville Chamber of Commerce recently held a private event at the Aqua Park, a rubber duck race in the lazy river, and it was one of the few events the Aqua Park hosted this summer. The Aqua Park was also the location for the Memorial Day fireworks display. Parks and Recreation is looking to partner with more organizations around the community to increase the popularity of the Aqua Park.
The department also hosts a few events throughout the summer to increase community engagement. Movies on Main and the Collinsville Farmer’s Market are two events that occur throughout the summer. The next showing for Movies on Main will be Saturday, July 20 with the movie “Incredibles 2.” For each movie showing, 50 to 60 residents will come to watch, and while this event has happened in the past, this is the first year it’s under responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department. Movies on Main is a free event and offers free concessions as well. The farmer’s market happens once a month, and was on July 11. The next market will be on August 15.
“Community events like the farmer’s market give the community an opportunity to come together. The farmer’s market in particular is a great event that brings people together in support of the local economy as well as health and wellness. These events get people out and about in the parks and in uptown Collinsville,” Caughran said.
There has been a steady increase in program participation since the conception of the department. Swimming lessons at the Aqua Park and day camps have a steady enrollment for the duration of the summer, and Caughran reported there are a few spaces left in the programs for interested families.
For residents that are teens and adults, Collinsville has activities that pertain to an older crowd. Adult programming includes painting classes, yoga in the parks, water aerobics and the Riverwalk at the Aqua Park.
“We are looking to add programs where there is interest. If anyone has an idea for a program, the department is ready to put it into action,” Caughran said.
For more information about the park’s department programming, visit www.collinsvilleil.org.