News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Massad YMCA’S Annual Summer Blowout
BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
In addition to Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day festivities, the folks at the Massad YMCA host an annual All–American Cookout water park festival, adding a burst of excitement and energy into the season as well. The activity-packed, fun-filled celebration next Saturday will climax with a grand finale of an awe-inspiring fireworks display by Jake Walther.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents and their children to be together outdoors doing something that’s fun and healthy. And it can be a jump-start to get engaged with other family activities and programs that the Y offers,” said Wendy Zelazny who will be coordinating the event, along with Diane Morrison and Stacy Stovall. The trio comprises the Massad Support Campaign’s “Midas Makers” team.
Affectionately dubbed the “Game Queen,” Zelazny is a mom and a volunteer whose enthusiasm and excitement about the cookout is evident in her description of a dive for candy and quarters in the pool.
“This is a super popular game that the kids love,” she said. “When they see a candy bar, even kids who wouldn’t normally put their face in the water are diving under in no time flat!” She adds that, especially for this event, goggles are a “great accessory.”
Part of Zelazny’s contribution is selecting a theme for each year’s festival and this year’s, appropriately, will be the Olympics. Prizes will include gold medals on red, white and blue ribbons and the water park will be decorated with flags and patriotic bunting, as well as the Olympic Ring symbol (crafted from hula hoops).
The traditional contests and games, tweaked for this year, will include Shark Sharp Shooting (firing Nerf guns at a floating target), the Discus Throw (flinging Frisbee-style hoops to circle gold and silver ping-pong balls in the pool), the Javelin Toss (with pool noodles) and Corncob Archery (with Nerf bows and arrows). Track and field relays will include the turtle-egg-on-spoon, sponge relay and a sack race.
In a “Winter Games Preview,” contestants will vie to don a frozen T–shirt in record time.
“The shirt is like a solid brick of ice. It’s hilarious!” said Zelazny. “They just have to get the thing on, but you’d be surprised how hard that is!”
Cookout foods such as barbecues, hamburgers and hot dogs will be included with event admission and Kiki’s Lunchbox will also be open throughout the evening. Entertainment will feature the widely popular flaming hula–hoop performance by Tasha Buckner, who will also give lessons and will award several lucky participants with one of her handmade hula–hoops.
Music will be provided by DJ Tony B and the Sunset Syndicate Band, with dockside dancing and land zumba, guided by Cheryl Martinez.
“We’ll have tons of prizes and everyone will get some things to take home,” said Morrison.
“My advice is: Bring your biggest car!” adds Zelazny, “Last year, my kids just kept loading up and loading up and I’d joke ‘Oh no! Stop getting stuff!’ They loved it.”
All proceeds from the All– American Cookout will be contributed to the Jay Massad Support Campaign to help community members with financial assistance.
What: The Fourth Annual All-American Cookout and Beach Party
Where: The Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA, 212 Butler Road, Stafford
When: Saturday, Aug. 18, 6:30– to 9:45 p.m. (Rain date: Aug. 25) Early-bird registration (before Aug. 14): Adults $15, children (12 and under) $10; family of four $50 ($5 for each additional child) Registration on Aug. 14 or later: Adults $20; children (12 and under) $15; family of four $70 ($10 for each additional child)
Info/registration: 540/371-9622; family-ymca.org
Collette Caprara is a local freelance writer and artist.