Westminster ends National Park and Recreation Month with artful goodbye

After 30 days of free outdoor activities sponsored by the Department of Recreation and Parks, the City of Westminster is celebrating the end of July — which is National Park and Recreation Month — with an artful goodbye.

The department is holding a chalk art contest on July 31 that is open to children ages 5-12, said Mark Slater, recreation program coordinator. Entries will be split up into two age groups, one for children age 5-8 and another for age 9-12. Ten businesses along Main Street have offered to allow contestants to use the pavement outside of their locations as the canvas, and the department will be supplying the chalk. The competition begins at 10 a.m. and all creations must be completed by 6 p.m., at which point the judging will begin. An announcement of the winners of each age group will most likely come the following day, Slater said, with the prize being a gift certificate to Melt Down, a do-it-yourself ceramics, clay and glass workshop located on Main Street.

Robin Cherney, another recreation program coordinator for the department, said though each business specializes in different services, they all were eager to participate. The list of businesses include: Levin Eyecare; Pomeroy Jewelers; Giulianova Groceria; the Chamber of Commerce; By the Bay Botanicals; CUP Tea Bar & Café; Meltdown; Stylish Finds; Coffey Music; and the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library.

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, America has celebrated July as National Park and Recreation Month since 1985 and its popularity continues to grow among small towns and cities. In Westminster, the department designed a calendar with an event scheduled for each day of the month and includes ideas such as free snowballs every Wednesday, free concerts every Sunday, as well as an assortment of outdoor activities and exercises. Slater said the city has done this for many years, and though it is difficult — and at times stressful — it's worth it.

"Having an event every day is ambitious but who cares, it's the whole point of having a recreation department," he said.

Slater and Cherney both said so far they have had few competitors register but aren't worried. Slater said he is expecting a rather late and large push on this, with as many as 30-40 participants.

"We expect a precipitous number of entries," Slater said. "Hopefully around a few dozen."

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or email him at wiley.hayes@theadvocateofcc.com.

What: Westminster's National Park and Recreation Month Sidewalk Chalk Contest.

Where: Between Md. 27 and Longwell Ave., Main Street, Westminster.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 31.

For more information about chalk art locations, please call the Department of Recreation and Parks at 410-751-5501.

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