Come to the park!

Tomorrow night is the Summer Fun Celebration on Swasey Parkway. The celebration consists of a chicken barbecue with the Exeter Firefighters’ Relief Association and the downtown merchants’ group, HERON (Historic Exeter Retail Owners Network), a performance by the Southern NH Ukulele Group, and the showing of a movie on a huge inflatable movie screen. This week’s movie is Inside Out.

The celebration is less about the barbecue, the concert, and the movie, and more about enjoying Swasey Parkway as a park. Most days Swasey Parkway is more of a way than it is a park but on these nights, with the road closure, it comes alive. The park is alive with bikers, walkers, dancers, hula hoopers, chalk artists, jump ropers, martial artists, and more.

The movie nights are a mechanism to entice residents to head outside and enjoy the short NH summer season. Some come with their books, others pack picnics, many bring sleeping bags, others bring card games, and last week the movie hosts saw their first screen-house. Yes, I will concede, sometimes the mosquitoes can be a bit annoying. The organizers are well-prepared with bug spray for you to use.

Some come to the Parkway, enjoy the pre-movie festivities, and then when the movie starts they head home. Some don’t make it through the entire movie while others are often found waking up their children after the movie is over.

Tomorrow night’s barbecue does have an important purpose as the hosts are hoping to raise money to donate to the American Independence Museum and to the 2017 movie night series. What you may not realize is the movie nights are rather costly, ranging from $1,200 – $1,500 per night, yes, per night.

I hope to meet you at the Park tomorrow. Come early, visit the Farmers’ Market, enjoy the barbecue (or bring your own picnic), tap your toes to the sounds of the Southern NH Ukulele Group, and appreciate the beauty of Exeter and the amazing community spirit we often take for granted. If you are up for it, stay for the movie. Take special note of the sweet sound of young giggles echoing off the river, one of my favorite parts of the movie nights.

Don’t forget to try the fresh, popped popcorn…it’s the best!

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