PARKERSBURG - Hundreds of kids and their parents Saturday attended the annual Fraternal Order of Police Blennerhassett Lodge 79 Kid's Picnic at Southwood Park.
Lodge President Joe Gonzales said from 500 to 1,000 turnout for an evening of free activities. Gonzales said the food was free for children age 3 to 14.
Two purposes are served by the picnic, he said.
FOP Kids Picnic
"This is a way to thank the public for helping us with our fundraisers during the year," he said. "And, it also helps the kids to get to know the police and emergency responders."
Gonzales said the food, prepared by lodge members, was not the only attraction. He said the evening also included inflatables, games, music, a puppet show, dunking booth and the park's water slide.
Some at the event were there for the first time while others were repeat attendees.
Parkersburg police detectives P.M. Edelen and D.L. Brown manned the grill Saturday at the annual Fraternal Order of Police Blennerhassett Lodge 79 Kid’s Picnic at Southwood Park. (Photos by Jeffrey Saulton)
Emma Hornbeck, right, watches as Jingles the Clown makes a balloon animal.
"I've been coming to this for as long as they've had this," said Carol Williams of Parkersburg, who brought her 19-month-old granddaughter Alyssa Sandy. "I think it's a great way to let the kids know the police officers in a different setting and to teach them that if they are in trouble they can look for and trust an officer. It's a great thing."
Amy Sandy, Alyssa's mother, said this was her first time.
"It was a good time and a great event for the community," she said.
Melissa Dodrill of Parkersburg attended the picnic with her two children who enjoyed the event.
"I think it's a wonderful thing," she said.
"It's cool," was how her son, Cordell, described the picnic.
Barbara Bartlett of Vienna said the evening was enjoyable.
"I think this is something good for the children," she said. "It's all for our children and anything for them is good."