Everyone was seemingly in a good mood and ready to celebrate the grand reopening of Oak Park Saturday on the first anniversary of the 2011 Souris River flood. The public was invited for family-oriented fun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A sizable crowd filled a section of the park by the splash pad, with a line for food snaking its way toward the playground. Free lunch was offered to the first 2,000 people, the food provided by First Presbyterian Church, and there were booths with T-shirts for sale and information on flood recovery programs. There were also games, clowns and bouncy houses for the children, as well as the much-anticipated opening of the splash pad at noon.
Kicking off Saturday's celebration was the Hope Floats, Rebuild the Magic 5K Fun Run/Walk at 9 a.m. in Oak Park. The event was to help raise money to rebuild the parks and recreational areas in the Minot community.
Jill Hambek/MDN • Kids take their turns leaving their painted handprints on a sheet of white plastic at one of the booths at the celebration in Oak Park for the grand reopening Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Locus Group, who ran the handprint booth, had the idea of spelling out the word “hope” with the handprints, but then decided to just let kids place their handprints wherever they liked. The word hope will be written over the handprints in another color instead.
One of the booths at the celebration event was just a piece of plywood with a giant sheet of white plastic that had nearly a hundred bold-colored, painted handprints on it. People, but mostly kids, could dip a hand in a vat of paint and make a handprint on the sheet. The original idea was for the handprints to spell the word "hope," but it didn't work out like that since the handprints ended up going every which way, explained Tyler Asendorf, member of the Locus Group who was in charge of the booth. Instead, the word hope would probably just be written across the handprints in black, he said. The Locus Group has about 30 members who try to do helpful things for the community.
"We want to leave it as an amoeba-like group so we can shift into whatever we need to do to help," Asendorf said. The Locus Group's members mainly come from the Pangea House, he noted.
Oak Park is officially back and open for all community members to enjoy.