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Munroe Falls — Area residents are invited to Brust Park, off Route 91, to celebrate the presence of the Cuyahoga River as it flows through town during the 23rd annual River Day festivities May 18.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We’re expecting about 500 people throughout the day,” said Mayor Frank Larson.
He said this is typical of past River Days.
It is in conjunction with other events in the city that day on Munroe Falls Avenue. This includes a pancake breakfast at the fire department, sponsored by the Munroe Falls Fire and Rescue Association, from 7 to 11 a.m., and a preview of this summer’s Munroe Falls Farmer’s Market next door at Guise Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Larson said that the Munroe Falls Historical Society, on the other side of Guise Park, is also expected to be open.
Local Scouts will pull invasive weeds along the river bank from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Volunteers are welcome. Anyone can jump in and help,” said Sarah Hegnauer, chairwoman of the city’s park board.
Hegnauer said there will be some handicap parking set aside at Brust, but most parking will be offsite, including at Kimpton Middle School on North River Road, Sonoco Paper Products on Route 91, just north of Brust Park, and limited parking at Guise Park. A shuttle bus will provide free transportation from these sites to Brust from 10 a.m. to at least 3:30 p.m., she said.
“We appreciate the collaboration with the Stow-Munroe Falls School District and allowing us to use the shuttle,” she said.
She added that Riverview Elementary School students made signs for the event. Additional directional signs along the road were also commissioned, she said.
As of May 8, the more than 40 vendors listed as participants include the Munroe Falls police and fire departments, including Badger, the city’s police dog and local chainsaw wood carver Joe Frohnapfel.
Other vendors include:
• Artist Yvonne Simia, who teaches classes at the Lehner Community Center, will provide demonstrations.
• The Stow-Munroe Falls Kiwanis Club and the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library will offer children’s craft tables.
• The Munroe Falls Garden Club will raffle off gift baskets, with tickets sold for $1 each, $5 for six.
• The Friends of Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library will conduct a book sale.
• Stow-Munroe Falls High School cheerleaders will provide face painting and temporary tattoos for children and the school’s Bulldog mascot may also be on hand.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will again bring in its archery trailer, including instructors.
• The Summit County Ohio Bicentennial Bell will be displayed and rung.
• War of 1812 Military Re-enactors will provide cannon and musket demonstrations.
• The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center is expected to have animals on hand.
“Last year, they brought an owl and a possum,” said Hegnauer. “They’re usually smaller animals that are easier to handle.”
Food vendors expected to be present include Rita’s Italian Ice, Wholly Frijoles, John’s Cookies and Chick-fil-A. There will also be a free raffle at the greeter table, with a drawing at 2 p.m.
“When you come in, you just put your name down and you don’t have to be [at the drawing],” she said.
Prizes include an Android Tablet, donated by SeniorTVin Akron; The Q Fun Pack by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena; Sun and Safety Basket by Akron Safety Lite & Equipment, Co.; a pair of Akron Aeros tickets to a game of choice by the Akron Aeros; and two T-shirts and a $100 gift certificate by GameCraze.
River Day is a regional event, started by Friends of the Crooked River, an advocacy group for the Cuyahoga River, in April 1991.
“The purpose of the day was to encourage people to get out and spend some time at the river, participating in stewardship, recreational and educational experiences sponsored by various park districts, municipalities and civic and religious organizations,” states the organization’s website.
“The 23rd annual [River Day] celebrates the comeback river, the Cuyahoga,” the website adds. “With the improvement of water quality, the economic promise of the river is being realized everywhere along its 100 mile course.”
A number of different events are planned this year. Go to www.cuyahogariver.net for more information.
City Council member Ron Meyer said he believes the city has done something for River Day for pretty much its entire history. Larson said it started with weed pulls along the river bank and expanded over the years.
“We have turned it into a community event,” he said.
He also said he would stack the city’s River Day up along side any other events taking place.
“We’re the largest along the river,” he said.