By Manfried Rieder
(All photos courtesy of Newport Parts and Recreation Dept.)
There are three full time employees, 25 people who work part time on different projects during the year and at least 25 local volunteers who make up the Newport Parks and Recreation Department but what a fine bunch of enthusiastic and professional people they are can only be measured when one takes into consideration what those people have been doing for the city and county.
They organize the Water Fest and the 4th of July fireworks, the annual Santa Parade and Easter egg hunts, day and night camps, skating and skiing expedition, Bingo, a school break camp, a Preschool Playworld, bicycle rides for children, a golf tournament, Track and Field competition and a soccer camp.
If this is not enough to make the neighborhood Olympic Committees green with envy, it is just the tip of the iceberg. They are also in charge of a Celebration of the Young Child at Prouty beach which of course is under their supervision, as is the town dock. On Valentine's day they hold a father-daughter dance and in May there is the Dandelion and Fiddle Festival, a summer concert in front of the Municipal building, the Harry Carrow Freedom Run and a Lobsterfest and if this is all too exhausting an activity, the more sedentary types of us can enjoy the city wide Yard Sale. An annual Foliage Festival has been a crowd pleaser as well.
The office of the department which is anchored by its director Andrew Cappello is on the second floor of the Municipal building and as can be expected, a visitor will find the door wide open. New ideas are welcome, inquiries will be courteously dealt with but permeating the atmosphere, everywhere those people can be found, be it at Gardner park or on Prouty beach, is an underlying professionalism tinged with humor and an obvious enjoyment of the work that is being done for the municipality.
There is so much going on in Newport all through the year that visitors to the Kingdom are well advised to find out what Andrew and his Merry Men and Women are cooking up next. While some events are for residents only, most are open to all comers and with the cornucopia of activities for children, visitors should contact Parks and Recreation to find out what is going on and where. They can be reached at (802) 334 6345.
The next event we look forward to watching will be fun: On April 18 there will be an under- water egg hunt at either Jay Peak or the Newport City Hotel followed by a popular egg hunt at Prouty Beach on the 19th. Meanwhile, there stands a wooden Dummy in the frozen lake near the Causeway bridge and folks can buy tickets for the "Ice Out" competition. Whomever figures out the closest time and day of when the dummy falls through the ice wins!
All thanks to people who love Newport and see the beauty of this often overlooked place in all its glory.