Thursday, August 31, 2000

Oak and Acorn adds attractions for park festival

Balloon rides join music, magic

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — For the second annual Oak and Acorn celebration, Kenton County's recreation program hopes to double last year's 1,500-person crowd.

        “This year, it's a family affair, rather than being geared toward seniors only,” said Steve Trauger, Kenton County's recreation programs coordinator. “Other than the Pete Wagner Band, everything is new this year.”

 What: Oak & Acorn Celebration.
 When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 9.
 Where: Mills Road Park, Mills Road, Covington.
 Activities: Balloon rides, climbing wall, water Olympics, strolling magic, and evening concert and dance featuring the music of Pete Wagner's Big Band and WSAI-AM's Wirt Cain.
 Directions: In Northern Kentucky, take I-275 to exit 79 (Taylor Mill Road) and drive south on Taylor Mill Road, or Ky. 16. Go 7 miles to Mills Road, turn left, and go one mile to the park. If additional parking is needed, a shuttle service will run from St. Patrick's Church on Mills Road and the former Cherokee Bowl on Ky. 16.
 Information: Call Kenton County Recreation at 525-PLAY (7529) or Kenton County Cooperative Extension Service at 356-3155 to reserve a food booth, or Senior Services of Northern Kentucky at 491-0522.

        This year's Oak and Acorn Celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 9 at Mills Road Park. The celebration was named Oak and Acorn to be representative of all ages — from senior citizens, representing the oak, to small children, representing the acorn, organizers said.

        Besides allowing families to meet neighbors and catch up with old friends, the event is a way to show off the 3-year-old park.

        “There are still a lot of people out in Kenton County who don't know what a wonderful facility Mills Road Park is,” said Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black.

        This year's activities include something for all ages, Mr. Trauger said.

        Besides an evening concert and dance featuring the 1940s music of the Pete Wagner Band and WSAI-AM's Wirt Cain, the celebration features the following new attractions:

        • A 32-foot climbing wall with four climbing surfaces.

        • A continuous medley of musical hits ranging from the 1940s to the present.

        • Water Olympics kids' games.

        • Strolling magic by Jason the Great.

        • Cincinnati Zoo presentations of “Wildlife Comes to You.”

        • Story time presented by the Kenton County Public Library System.

        • Weather permitting, Captain Zap and his “Clean Air for Kentucky” hot air balloon will offer rides to 80 people.

        “The hot air balloon ride is the only thing we have that will cost money,” Mr. Trauger said.

        The county has doubled its tents and seating capacity, allowing 1,000 participants to sit under a shaded tent at any one time, Mr. Trauger said. Golf carts will be used to transport disabled visitors, and additional parking for the disabled will be available.

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