Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 5, 2013

Salisbury Parks and Recreation wants residents to discover one of its best kept secrets. A hosted campout on Friday evening at Salisbury Community Park on Hurley School Road was an activity filled event planned to showcase the park and kick off a new series of family programs.
Recreation coordinator and campout organizer Vivian Koontz said, “My family are campers and I thought that those who hadn’t been camping recently might want the experience. Some have never gone camping and we even brought a few extra tents for them to use. Those who had not been out to this park should get a chance to see how much it has to offer. We’ve got a great night planned.”
For a nominal fee, campers got a hot dog supper, a chance to go on a scavenger hunt, a bonfire complete with smores, a night nature hike, fishing, and a movie. Saturday morning’s breakfast was included, along with crafts and plenty of games.
Peggy Rose from Granite Quarry brought her grandchildren, Grace and Julian Hedenskog, to the park. She said, “I thought it would be a great way to spend some quality time with my grandchildren. I also wanted to try out a new tent.”
Others, like Terry Cassell of Salisbury, were ready for a night of relaxing. Cassell said, “I love camping, and my whole family does too. This is a beautiful area, and we are out here on a perfect night. I plan to just sit back and chill.” But before she did, Cassell and Rose practiced their cornhole skills.
Some of the campers had used the park for other activities before, but didn’t know that a one mile mostly paved walking trail and large lake were in the park. Greg Philpot said, “We had no idea that all this was here. We’ve been involved in baseball and just never took the time to explore the park. If I take the family out to eat, it could cost me $60. What a great deal this family campout is! Money is tight and this is a nice opportunity for a reasonably priced family event.”
City of Salisbury’s Elaney Hasselman, who was enjoying her hot dog supper, described the campout as part of a new initiative toward family programming and then praised other city services for helping to plan and facilitate the first campout. “Parks and Recreation took the lead, and the police and fire departments, along with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, added to the joint effort to make this event successful by showcasing the 305 acre park and providing quality entertainment. We have an initiative to bring recreation into the parks.
Other proposed activities include art and music festivals. We have a spring concert series planned with two acts already booked. ”
Hasselman and son, Liam, were looking forward to a stargazing opportunity hosted by the Rowan Astronomical Society. Campers planned to move to a dark area of the park to enhance the brightness of the stars, just before returning to watch a 9 p.m. showing of “Yogi Bear”.
Philpot added, “I’m glad to hear about all of those future activities. We won’t have to drive to Kannapolis or Charlotte. It sounds like a good place for date night and an opportunity for our local college kids to come to the parks. We will be out here a lot from now on.”