'Inflatables are always a hit': Westminster celebrates Park and Recreation Month with free activities

Westminster is celebrating National Park and Recreation Month this July with events scheduled for every single day.

The county’s Parks and Recreation Department has been hosting basketball clinics, film screenings and free snowballs, among other activities for local families — and the sports inflatable pop-up on Tuesday, July 10, at Westminster City Park was part of it.

“Inflatables are always a hit,” said Westminster Parks and Rec Assistant Director Heather Mullendore at the park entrance. “Last year it was jousting, but we could only do two kids at a time. This year we have where they can do various sports and kids don’t have to wait as long.”

The inflatable sports dome had a cylindrical center bubble with a globe at its peak. Each facet of the dome was host to a different sport, with sides dedicated to flying discs, basketball, baseball and soccer, as well as other sports.

Harper Hewett, 4, was at the park with her sister and mother. After going to the gym, the Westminster residents decided to check out the inflatable.

“I played the soccer games and I threw footballs in the hoop,” she said as they walked toward some shade.”

Brother and sister M.J., 4, and Jazzlyn Williams, 2, said they were having fun with the basketball hoops.

“We saw the event on Facebook,” said their mother Jordan Riley. “We go to the park almost every other day.”

Riley and her family moved to Westminster two years ago, she said, and she is always excited to find ways to get them outside.

“Last year we didn’t know about too much stuff,” she said. “It’s a little hot, though, today.”

Around the corner Jamie Schroeder, 5, was holding a flying disc, aiming it at the various targets.

“I’m just playing some sports,” he said. “I was thinking it was going to be a bouncy inflatable. It’s really nice.”

He said he and his mom, both from Manchester, come to the park a lot during the summer, and he loves it.

“I like to do climbing and stuff,” he said, “’cause I’m really good at climbing. I’m really good at that.”

And at the baseball side, Peggy Benko, of Westminster, watched her son Stevie play T-ball with some friends. She made a deal with them that if they hit the big globe at the top of the inflatable they’d win ice creams.

“His buddy hit it already,” Benko said.

“We go to the gym and come to the park right after all the time,” she said. “We love this month. It’s the best — especially for parents looking for fun stuff to do in the summer” for a low price or for free.”

Most of the events are free, but some do have fees, Mullendore said. And the two big events that will cost participants are on the horizon: the Small Fry Tri this Friday, and the Ninja Warrior Challenge on July 20.

The Small Fry Tri, she said, is a kids triathlon scheduled for 11 a.m. July 13 at Westminster City Park. Participation is $5 per child.

“Children 3 to 6 years old bring their own bicycle, tricycle or power wheels,” Mullendore said. “We have a track in here they’ll do with their bike, then they will swim through sprinklers, and then run through the park until they get to the finish line.”

And the Ninja Warrior Challenge, a competition where kids must navigate through a homemade obstacle course, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 20 at the park. Participation is $7 per child.

“Last year was our first year for that one,” Mullendore said. “It was highly successful.

“We thought 25 kids would participate but then we ended up with 800,” she said. “This year we have 150 confirmed but there are 1,200 people interested on Facebook. This year we have all the homemade obstacles again, and we are adding a few new ones.”

More information on upcoming Parks and Recreation events in Westminster this July can be found on the Parks and Recreation calendar and on the Parks and Recreation section of the Westminster city website.

Pre-registration is required for the Ninja Warrior Challenge, and residents can either call the Parks and Rec Department at 410-751-5501 or register via email at: WestminsterRec@westgov.com.

jennifer.turiano@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7898

twitter.com/jturianoCCT

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