Saturday is Earth Day and a variety of activities to mark the occasion are scheduled to take place in Baker Park.
New Castle Mayor Greg York invites the entire Henry County community to join him and other city officials for what’s being promoted as a community picnic in the park. The event starts at noon, and in addition to Earth Day, it’s the official opening of the city’s parks for the 2017 summer season.
“This is basically a fundraiser for the park,” York said. “We’re trying to get people involved and to come to the park. New Castle loves to eat so I thought it would be fun to have a cookout in the park. We’ve got vendors coming and they’ll be bringing a variety of things to eat like chicken, nachos and pulled pork sandwiches. We’re going to be grilling out hotdogs. We’ll have a variety of food that appeals to everybody from kids to adults.”
Tickets for Saturday’s picnic in the park are priced at $5 each and currently are on sale at the mayor’s office on the second floor of the municipal building, 227 N. Main St., during normal business hours. New Castle Parks Board members Patty Broyles, David Nantz, John Henderson and Sandy Scott also are selling tickets for the event, as is Mayor York. Tickets will also be available Saturday at the picnic.
Vendors expected to be on hand include Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Papa John’s Pizza and Taco Bell. Mayor York will be manning the grill.
“We wanted a variety of foods so everybody can come and enjoy something to eat,” the mayor said. “We also wanted to keep it as affordable as possible. So, for example, a family of five can come and pick five different things to eat and it’s only going to cost them $25. They can eat and then have fun enjoying the park.”
Besides feasting and fun, weather permitting, there will be a DJ on hand providing a variety of music.
At 1 p.m., shelter house No. 1 will officially be dedicated to former New Castle resident, principal, community leader and World War II veteran Richard “Dick” Leitch. A small, private ceremony to honor Leitch was held earlier this month while several of his shipmates from the USS Hyman were in town. Leitch died earlier this year. Besides teaching elementary school, he served as principal at Sunnyside Elementary for 20 years. He was a member of the city council, the Memorial Park Board, New Castle Zoning Board, New Castle-Henry County Library Board, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, and served several terms on the New Castle Community School Board of Trustees. Saturday’s program is designed to allow the community at large to participate in honoring him.
At 2 p.m., in recognition of Earth Day, the mayor and other community leaders will plant a tree in the park. Again, the public is encouraged to participate by attending.
“We just hope family and friends will come out and enjoy Baker Park as we host a fundraiser for the parks to help us make some needed improvements,” York said. “For $5 a ticket, people can eat as much as they want and support the parks.”
The mayor encourages everyone, even those persons who may not be able to attend Saturday’s picnic, to purchase a ticket as a way of showing their support for the city’s parks system. Donations for improving local parks are also welcome at the Henry County Community Foundation.
“We’re hoping the weather cooperates and that we have a huge turnout,” York said.
Call 765-529-7605 with questions.