Richmond Parks and Recreation Department was thrilled once again to host a weekend full of outdoor activities in the city.
On Friday, the city held its first drive-in movie event at Paradise Cove aquatic facility. Those who were pre-registered could swim and enjoy a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, provided by the Richmond Branch of the Madison County Public Library.
According to Mason Chamblee of the parks department, a pre-registration system is in place to help monitor overcrowding and facility limits.
"We limited capacity to little under 400 people for the event, and within a few days of making the link live, we were completely booked," he told The Register. "It was great seeing so many people come out to the first Dive-In Movie of the year."
On Saturday, it was another busy day for the department's staff as they helped prepare for the annual Fishing Derby. Unfortunately, both this event and the dive-in movies were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This event is for kids aged 16 and under and will feature free fishing, games, prizes, informational sessions from local outdoors groups, and the chance to have a great time alongside partners such as The Cain Pole, Kentucky Fish, and Wildlife, Texas Roadhouse, and Cabela's.
Chamblee said the Fishing Derby had quite a large crowd spread out across the banks of the lake at Lake Reba Recreational Complex.
"We had over 50 kids sign up to participate in our prize drawing give always and tons more parents and family along for some fun," he said. "This has been one of the more attend Fishing Derbies in my time here."
The parks employee said the staff was thrilled to go out into the community once again and offer these events to the residents of Richmond.
"While we did our best to offer similar or replacement programs last year during the pandemic, that just does not replace the original events. So now, with restrictions being eased, it is uplifting to be a part of our community again," he said. "Our staff has been working incredibly hard to not only bring back those same programs but add even more to our annual calendar to really get back to one of the core aspects of our department, engaging with our city."
He stated during the course of these events, staff had numerous people stop to tell them how happy they were families are just able to do something again.
"These little anecdotal stories really encapsulate what our community is feeling. Whether through face-to-face interactions at events like that, or online through social media, or phone calls, people have been more deliberate about expressing their appreciation of the return of some regular activities and programming," Chamblee shared. "We are even seeing more uptick in the number of community organizations or businesses who want to be a part of these events as a way for them to give back and connect with the city."