Oak Grove Park is quiet.
Wednesday night’s Oak Grove Park “Funraiser” party was LOUD.
“We need you to stop talking so people can hear if their number is called,” organizers from the Friends of Oak Grove Park had to say more than once.
“Please, BE QUIET! Or we’ll be here all night,” Friends Board Chair Patricia Huff called out more than once over the din as nearly 200 people of all ages crowded into the west room of Double Mountain Brewery.
Dozens of prizes were up for drawing, and people strained to hear their numbers called as they perused strands of coded green, yellow and red tickets.
Between the bonhomie and the beer, at least one birthday cake, music from Hood River band Amber and the Pale Ales, and the anticipation of winning a prize, the event was a case of community in commotion, and all for a good cause: Raising funds to sustain and, with hope, improve, Oak Grove Park.
“This is an excellent turnout. The community loves Oak Grove Park,” Huff said. “We want to keep it open. It would not be open today without our efforts.”
The Hood River County park was to be closed in January due to budget shortages, but Friends raised $4,300 and presented it to the county to keep it open until June.
“That only takes us to the end of June. We want to use our money to develop the park, but we’re having to use our money to keep it open. We need the support,” Huff said, pointing out that the proposed food and beverage tax on the May 21 ballot is designed to help restore funding to the park.
Friends have raised anew about $12,000, though the full take of the “Funraiser” was unknown at press time. If the number of people present and the number of tickets sold were any indication, it will be a success.
“There’s at least three families here that have three generations who have used the park,” said Friends Board Member Kathy Lannan, “and that’s why we’re here today, to keep this park open for generations to come and we can’t do it without the community.
“We can’t thank you enough from the bottom of our hearts,” Lannan said. She cited its 140-year history as a place of recreation and community.
“This is a fundraiser for the things we want to develop,” Huff said. “Overall, our concern is the health and safety of the park,” including removal of roots and adding soft-fall surface in the playground, and resurfacing the Taro Asai Tennis Courts.
“The children’s play area is not safe right now. We want to take our money and fix that,” Huff said. She noted that Friends founder Nancy Moller has a vision of a toddler park.
“We want to take our money and fulfill Nancy’s vision. That’s our number one thing.”