Pickerington returns to full slate of summer recreation programs

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Pickerington City Hall

It's back to business as usual for the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department as a full complement of events have been planned for the summer.  

While the Pickerington Community Pool was opened to reduced capacities last summer and the July 4 celebration was scaled down, it was the only annual summer activity put on by the department that was spared by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  

But that's not the case this year. Even before Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced nearly all the state's COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted June 2, city officials were planning to restore summer activities.  

"Last year was a wash and there was so much unknown due to the pandemic and most things were not able to be offered due to the guidelines in place at that time," department Director Becca Medinger said. "It is such a positive feeling to know we are able to offer programs again for the community." 

The city has posted summer event information on its website for several weeks. Medinger said registrations for all events have been steady.  

"With the most recent changes, there are no max sizes for outdoor events," she said. "Therefore, we are able to host our programs similar to what we have in the past. If guidelines change, we will stay within those means." 

This year's summer itinerary was slated to kick off June 4 with the return of Friday Night Flicks and a showing of "Free Willy" at the Sycamore Creek Amphitheater.  

The amphitheater, 481 Hereford Drive, will hold free movies at dusk each Friday through July 30. A list is available at https://tinyurl.com/kuzkjc5a

Each Sunday, from June 13-Aug. 8, the amphitheater also will be the site of the 2021 Summer Concert Series. The live music performances will be offered free from 7-8:30 p.m. 

RockHouse will serve as the first concert of the series. The lineup is available at https://tinyurl.com/327xbsks

This year's July 4 celebration is expected to return as a two-day event.  

Fireworks will be launched from Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, at approximately 10 p.m. July 2.  

The community's annual Independence Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. July 3.  

Parade registration forms and other July 4 celebration information is available at https://tinyurl.com/wj67h7kz

The Youth Fishing Derby, which until last year had been held annually since 2007, also will return to Sycamore Creek Pond on July 24. Prizes will be awarded in four age groups, ranging from 6 and younger to 11-14.  

"(This year) is the 15th year for our Youth Fishing Derby," Medinger said.  

Although there is no fee to participate in the fishing derby, registration is required by July 22. Registration and other information is available at https://tinyurl.com/sc5cchk7

Additionally, the parks and recreation department is bringing back the Youth Adventure Challenge for a second time. This year's event will take place at Sycamore Creek Park from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 14.   

"The Youth Adventure Challenge is a fun event for all ages and all fitness levels and gives kids a chance to be outside in a nontraditional setting like an organized sport offers," Medinger said. "The kids will be able to take on 16 challenges that vary from a rock wall, tunnel crawl, rope swing over water, quintuple steps, hay-bale climb, bungee jungle and, of course, finish with a warp wall and pushing the buzzer."  

Children ages 3-12 will be able to compete in obstacle-course races. The event fee is $5 per child, the registration deadline is Aug. 6 and event details are available at https://tinyurl.com/2wru5kev

The department will host this year's events and other yearlong programs despite a significant drop in revenue because of the pandemic.  

City Finance Director Chris Schornack said Parks and Rec events and programming brought in $35,663 last year, a significant drop from 2018 ($167,918) and 2019 ($175,270).  

Despite last year's shortfall, Medinger said, the city isn't raising prices for events or admission to the city pool.  

"The parks and recreation department is thrilled that we are able to host special events and wonderful programs for the community in 2021," she said. "After a long year of cancellations or offering minimal programs, we are back in full swing with offering great opportunities for the community to enjoy throughout the year." 

nellis@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekNate