More than 1,000 people are expected to head to Highlands Pool this weekend to celebrate the 38-year-old summer hangout before it closes Aug. 2 for a complete overhaul.

More than 1,000 people are expected to head to Highlands Pool this weekend to celebrate the 38-year-old summer hangout before it closes Aug. 2 for a complete overhaul.

The Westerville Parks and Recreation Department has set up two days' worth of events at the aquatics center, including a "Last Splash" party from noon to 9 p.m. July 31, a kids' "Try-Athalon" at noon Aug.1 and the annual Doggie Paddle from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 1.

The celebrations were put together as an opportunity for residents to come and enjoy the nearly 40-year-old aquatic center before it undergoes $7.6-million in renovations before next summer's pool season, said city recreation administrator Phyllis Self.

"The pool means so much to so many people here in Westerville, so we really wanted people to have the opportunity to come in and see the pool as it is now," Self said. "There are people who have been coming for the last 38 years. There's a lot of history. That pool has served the community well."

The Last Splash will offer a day full of activities, including games, a sand castle contest, a treasure hunt led by a pirate, water activities, live music and giveaways.

"We're ending with the very last splash," Self said. "Hopefully, our new director will be taking the last splash, members from the recreation council, and our employee who has been employed at the pool the longest, along with our newest, youngest employee."

For pool pass-holders, there will be a duck race down the water slide, with the winner being awarded a season pass to the new aquatic center next summer.

For those without season passes, admission for the day will be $1, and all concessions will be sold at a discount.

"It's a very inexpensive way for families to spend a day," Self said. "We're hoping for a big crowd."

The Try-Athalon is a new event for the city. Children ages 7 to 12 can participate in a 100-meter swim, a one-mile bike ride and a quarter-mile swim. Each child who participates will be given an award. Registration for the event costs $5.

The pool's shortened season will end, as is tradition, with the Doggie Paddle. The event will cost $5 per dog, and dog owners must bring proof of vaccinations for their pets.

After July 31, those with passes to Highlands Pool will be able to use their passes for admission to the community center's pool, said recreation and parks development administrator Mike Hooper.

"Usually August, it slows down a little at the community center, so it works out very well," Hooper said.