As birthdays go, 70 is a big number and something to celebrate.

That's why Blacklick Woods Metro Parks' 70th birthday bash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, will feature "70 events for 70 years," assistant park manager Jessica McClintock said.

The party at the park, 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, will include three bounce houses, face-painting, animals from the Ohio Wildlife Center, hands-on science programs from COSI, nature crafts from Franklin Park Conservatory, food trucks and family hikes.

At noon, park officials will blow out candles on a large birthday cake.

When asked if he would do the honors, Tim Moloney, executive director of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, said, laughing, "If they don't let me blow out the candles, I will use my executive privilege and force my way into it."

Moloney said Blacklick Woods attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, making it one of the most popular in the Metro Parks system.

"We can't believe we are 70 years young at Blacklick," he said. "Who would have thought when the original board members decided to build a park so far out on the east side that it would become such a popular park?

"We couldn't be more excited about the birthday party."

Moloney said he hopes people will come out to celebrate.

"I'll be there early that morning to take a hike with Friends of Metro Parks and plan on spending the entire day there," he said.

McClintock said the 70 events will include balloon animals, a trading post set up with old photos, representatives from Slate Run Historical Farm, family hikes and fishing, a campfire, pumpkin painting, s'mores and apple cider.

Blacklick Woods is the oldest of Franklin County's Metro Parks, McClintock said.

"We are really looking forward to good weather and families coming out and having a good time," she said.

Food trucks expected to attend include Schmidt's Sausage Truck, Little Red Coffee Van, and Chicky Chicky Waffle.

The Oct. 20 celebration is a first at Blacklick as far as birthday parties go, McClintock said.

"We have had smaller events and other parks have celebrated birthdays, but this is Blacklick's first big birthday bash," she said.

Park officials will be on hand to help with any parking overflows.

"We are running it for six hours, so not everyone may be there at the same time, but we will have rangers to assist with parking and signs to direct people to different areas," she said.

Blacklick Woods is a 643-acre park that features wooded trails, picnic areas, a nature center and regular program activities, according to Metro Parks.

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