Tale of the barbecue: Attendance of more than 250 estimated at picnic

       Nobody can say exactly how many people came to the Westside Neighbors Picnic July 27, but they did eat more than 500 barbecued bratwursts and hotdogs.
Scenes from the Westside Neighbors Picnic... Attendees fill
up their plates with barbecued hotdogs and/or brats, plus
side dishes and condiments
(all donated by area businesses).
Westside Pioneer photo
Scenes from the Westside Neighbors Picnic... Competitors enjoy one of the sack races.
Westside Pioneer photo
Scenes from the Westside Neighbors Picnic... Members of
Fire Stations 3 and 5, who attended the picnic, combine for
a rare joint photo. From left are Doreen Schmidt (3),
Howard Henderson (3), Bekkah Wisham (5), Jon Messersmith (5), Carl Miller (5), Brian King (3), Mike Foos (5) and Larry Schwarz (3).
Westside Pioneer photo

       Board members of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) computed that tally based on the few remaining cookables still in boxes at the end of the three- hour afternoon gathering in Bancroft Park. So, based on the "two-dog" limit imposed for the free feast, it could be figured that at least 250 people attended - a big increase from last year's no-bbq event.
       In addition to food, attendees enjoyed live music, dance groups, kids' games, civic information possibilities, seeing neighbors and putting issues before several local elected officials who dropped by.
       The annual event, aimed at building community on the Westside, was co-organized again by OWN and the West Intergenerational Center. OWN volunteers gathered food donations and did the grilling, while West lined up the entertainment and ran the games.
       "It was a nice picnic," beamed OWN President Welling Clark. He expressed special appreciation to the city Code Enforcement officers and fire representatives from Stations 3 and 5 who accepted invitations to attend. "I think their presence helped make things more orderly," he added, referring to the previous picnic effort in '06 when there had been problems with transients being aggressive and stuffing food into their clothes.
       In a related food-service organization effort, OWN asked people to bring a coupon from the recent issue of the Westside Story (OWN's quarterly newsletter) to show they were Westsiders.
       The police brought in a new activity this year - the "Convincer," a City Police "ride" which lets people find out how it feels to crash at 8 mph. The idea is to emphasize the importance of safe driving and wearing seatbelts. Robert Scott, a police volunteer who was operating the device, estimated that about 80 people gave it a try.

Westside Pioneer article