Picnic crowd up about 50 from last year’s event

       An estimated 200 people showed up for this year's Westside Neighbors Picnic July 20.
       The free, two-hour outdoor event, held on the grassy area in front of the cottages at the Westside Community Center, featured barbecued brats and hotdogs, along with numerous donated side dishes; presentation of the annual Spirit Awards for property upgrades; and live music by John Wise's group.

Westside Neighbors Picnic... ABOVE: Diners eat at tables set up on the Westside Community Center's lawn next to the 1600 block of West Bijou Street. The barbecue area was in front of the far building, and the band is playing under the blue canopy.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The picnic is sponsored by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), the city-recognized advocacy group for the older Westside. It was the third year at the Community Center for the 13-year tradition after the first 10 years at Bancroft Park.

Westside Neighbors Picnic... Vicki Rodriguez of the Colorado Springs Fire Department makes an announcement while band leader John Wise (in hat) and fellow musicians wait to play again.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Terry Brunette, an OWN board member who has taken on the barbecuing duties the past several years, reported cooking a total of 220 hotdogs and 150 brats.
       Last year's attendance was estimated at about 150, as people still seemed to be getting used to the Community Center location.
       OWN Vice President Mary Gallivan said she had the impression during this year's event that it was well-attended. “I was really happy to see all of the Westsiders who turned out,” she said.
       She shared an e-mail from Barbie and Tim Yeomans, who attended the picnic and participated in a 1½-hour pre-picnic bicycle ride led by Chris Baum, the OWN board secretary. “What a great neighborhood we have here on the Westside,” the e-mail reads. “Please pass on our thanks to everyone who contributed to the great food, beverages, music and crafts, and helped bring the community residents together. We had a great time. Thanks so much!”
       Also on the bike ride, which started from Vermijo Park, were Keith Branham and his 2½-year-old daughter Delia. Last year his wife Sarah, who was pregnant at the time, went too, but had to stop part way through when she briefly passed out from the heat. She joined Keith and Delia at the picnic this time, carrying her new baby Nora.
       Other picnic attendees included local politicians - present and past District 18 state representatives Pete Lee and Michael Merrifield and City Councilmembers Don Knight and Keith King.

Westside Neighbors Picnic... The property at 1331 W. Pikes Peak Ave. was a winner of one of the Spirit Awards presented during the picnic.
Westside Pioneer photo

       There were also representatives of the City Fire Department (along with a truck) and the Innovations in Aging Collaborative.
       New this year was a small craft fair, just east of the eating area.
       Here are the Spirit Awards this year (listed by category, followed by name/address):
       Historic Preservation - 2South Food & Wine Bar (Rod and Ami Quass), 2 S. 25th St.
       Remodel Addition (residential) - John and Elizabeth Roberts, 1331 W. Pikes Peak Ave.
       Remodel Addition (commercial) - Westside Family Dentistry and Colorado Springs Audiology (Drs. Mary Purinsh and Gene McHugh), 1330 W. Colorado Ave.
       Landscape/Curb Appeal - Jane Wilson & Konnie Davidson, 2628 Bott Ave.
       Signage - Sweet Elephant (Don and Susan Quintana), 2502 W. Colorado Ave.
       Neighborhood improvement - Concrete Couch nonprofit (for the Vermijo Park mural).

Westside Pioneer article