The Town of Ocean View is gearing up to offer free fun family entertainment in John West Park.
“We want to do something different, something geared toward our community,” said Town Manager Carol Houck. “There’s such pride with the park — we want to show it off as often as we can.”
This spring, the Town will host three free concerts in the park, beginning Friday, May 15, with jazz trio 5th Avenue, followed by The Overtime Band on Friday, May 24, and The Funsters on Friday, May 31. All concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“These three groups have been highlighted in the past, and we have gotten a good following. We expect them to be well-received by the community,” said Houck. “I have heard a lot from people that they’re excited about it.”
Community members are being invited to the free concerts, and are being encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to help them enjoy the live music. For those who choose to not pack a picnic, food will be available for sale by local Boy Scout Troop 281.
Also in the summer months, the Town will host free Classic Movie Wednesday in the park. Movies will begin at dusk, and attendees will be able to purchase food, including popcorn and cotton candy.
“We didn’t know of anybody else doing classic movies and thought that might be a niche we could fill,” Houck said. “We were also looking at what other towns were doing so we could be an alternative.”
The classics will kick off on Wednesday, June 26, with a showing of “Casablanca.” Attendees will have the chance to dance to music in the Town’s gazebo and take part in themed photo-ops.
On Wednesday, July 10, the public can enjoy watching Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall in love in, “An Affair to Remember.” Adults and kids alike can enjoy the seminal classic, “The Sandlot,” about a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962. The season will conclude with the Disney classic “101 Dalmatians” on Wednesday, July 17.
“The atmosphere is so conducive to outdoor movies,” Houck said of the park. “We’re excited about the experience everyone is going to be able to get.”
In the fall, the Town’s Cops & Goblins festival will return, on Oct. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Houck said the festival will be returning with all the community’s favorite activities, including a costume contest and vehicle displays from local law-enforcement organizations.
To conclude the season, the Town will host an Old Town Holiday Market & Tree Lighting on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 1 to 6 p.m.
“Of course, we have people who don’t live here year-round but own homes. The Thanksgiving weekend is a long weekend and tends to be, in past history, a time when people come with their families to enjoy their homes here in Ocean View. We thought we would give them another thing to do.”
The holiday market will have a select number of vendors set up in the park, in decorated tents.
“It’s family focused. It’s not a market fair that will have an overwhelming number of booths. We’ll have select, unique vendors.”
The Town will be partnering with Boy Scout Troop 281 and the Ocean View Historical Society to provide a fun holiday experience for all.
“We’re just trying to make it a quaint, inviting atmosphere, and provide an opportunity to join with the community spirit of the season.”
The event will feature a tree-lighting, free train rides for kids through the park’s walking paths, roasted chestnuts, caroling and musical performances, including the Indian River High School choir.
“The town park will be decorated in a very festive manner, such that it has not in the past,” said Houck, noting that the Boy Scouts will be selling holiday trees throughout the event. “And, of course, a special visitor will make an appearance, arriving on a fire truck.”
John West Park is considered one of the Town’s greatest assets, and is something the Town enjoys highlighting, Houck said.
“It’s different than a lot of parks that are created from an empty field. I think people love that it has the old-growth trees and the shade. It’s within walking distance… We have really nice equipment as well, and that’s something we’ll continue to look at,” she said noting that the Town will soon be installing a handicapped wheelchair swing donated by the Southern Sussex Rotary.
“We’re also doing some work on the park — irrigation so we’ll have an opportunity to have more grass in areas where we haven’t; repairs to the bandstand; followed by new furnishings that will make for a nice place to sit on a seemingly Southern-style porch with ferns.”
Houck said she and the town council hope the community will embrace the events and take the time to enjoy good, free family fun at the park.
“We were trying to do a variety of things and show what our town has to offer,” she said. “I do believe we have certain opportunities to make good impressions and, by all means, we want to do that whenever we can.”
For more information about Ocean View’s Four Seasons of Family Fun at the Park, visit www.oceanviewde.com or call (302) 539-9797.
By Maria Counts