The Metroparks of the Toledo Area will celebrate its 75th anniversary tomorrow with a gift to the community - a free picnic lunch, entertainment, and children's activities at five parks.
Events were planned at eight parks, but flooding along the Maumee River washed out plans for Side Cut, Farnsworth, and Providence Metroparks. Activities that were planned for the river parks will be moved to the other party sites.
The park district is hoping that the combined turnout will put the event into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest picnic ever held. Metroparks spokesman Scott Carpenter reports that the South of England Agricultural Society holds the current record of 1,059 people who attended a picnic in West Sussex, United Kingdom.
Metroparks is prepared for a crowd. Donors are providing 10,000 hamburgers, 10,000 hot dogs, and soft drinks for 20,000 people, plus desserts.
Anyone who attends and signs a guest register will be counted for the record at the birthday bash, which will take place at Oak Openings Preserve, Pearson, Secor, Swan Creek Preserve, and Wildwood Preserve. From noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine, the parks will offer free picnic food. Activities will begin at 10 a.m. and local bands will perform from 1 to 3 p.m.
Parking will be available in some of the parks, while others will have shuttle service from nearby sites. Shuttles will operate beginning at 11 a.m.
Here's a sampling of what's happening at the five parks:
w Oak Openings Preserve: Blues band, self-guided horse tour, fishing, shuttles from parking areas within the park to the picnic area.
w Pearson: Country music, free 15-minute pedal boat rentals, Ohio Bicentennial traveling exhibit, shuttles from the Sundance Kid Drive-In.
w Secor: Classic rock music, classic car show, National Guard mini-jet, tours of the National Center for Nature Photography, parking in the park, no shuttles.
w Swan Creek Preserve: Latin music, Nature's Nursery live animal program, fire and bicycle safety demonstrations, shuttles from Southwyck Shopping Center behind KeyBank.
w Wildwood Preserve: Reggae and opera, garden artists, automotive display, Ohio Barns art exhibit, shuttles from Westgate Shopping Center.
The Metroparks' free 75th anniversary picnic takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow at five Metroparks. Information: 419-535-3050 or www.metroparkstoledo.com.
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