Saturday was the annual Weinland Park festival and it was bigger, more spectacular than ever before. But is it sustainable?  While there was ample resident participation it was essentially done by developers, banks, social service agencies etc. who bankrolled the bouncy houses, sound systems, tents, and catering, to entice residents to partake of their services and roles within the Weinland Park Collaborative.  And it worked. Hotdogs abounded and everyone learned about the many programs for affordable housing,  mental health, healthy eating, Girl Scouts and more.   There was even a map you could mark down the secret location of something you wanted to share in Weinland Park.  I’m hoping Middle West Spirits will have a table next year along with a Free Style tent. But did most people realize that the in 1095 days and counting  down most of the people with the tables would break camp and head to another neighborhood? There ought to be some kind of prominent expiration date with revitalization activities.  Eventually it’s going to turn into a pumpkin whether it’s done or not, just like the ball. Three to five years seems like an ambitious time frame to cure 65 years of poor zoning choices, the Federal Highway Act, and a myriad of other causes of vacant and abandoned housing.  When the Weinland Park Collaboraborative ends in three years will it be back to two grills and tape player at the festival? It’s all going to be very interesting.

The Weinland Park Dawgs started the formal festivities. No one was more excited than the little resident in the striped shirt wielding the peach yogurt supplied by Kroger’s. Note to Kroger’s; next year cotton candy please!  Dancing with his yogurt throughout tent to George Clinton’s Atomic Dog just before the Weinland Park Dawgs rushed the tent it was only a matter of time before it ended tragically. Pictured here, having just waved the yogurt near Dispatch Printing Company COO Michael Fiorile’s head, and Doug Aschenbach of Campus Partners (not pictured but just behind the yogurt) finally lost control and pasted your local blogger with the full container of Peach Lite.  Also in the potential track area but not pictured in the action photo taken in the seconds preceding the pasting were Mark Wagenbrenner of Wagenbrenner Development and Boyce Safford from the Columbus City Department of Development. Both were unharmed.

The Weinland Park cheerleaders did a few cheer routines to keep up the spirit overseen by Weinland Park Community Civic Association President Joyce Hughes.

Not one but two bouncy houses were provided which proved to be a monumental hit. While some said that adults were allowed it seemed inappropriate when covered in peach yogurt.

While it’s a nice idea to have a carousel at the new Columbus Commons park downtown they ought to put it where it would get some use. Hint!

The hotdogs got good reviews. The Spicy Chex Mix, not so much. All in all a pleasant day at the park.

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