Fraternal Order of Police youth pool party held in Vienna

VIENNA – More than 100 members of the community attended the Fraternal Order of Police Blennerhassett Lodge 79’s annual drug-free youth party at the Jackson Park swimming pool in Vienna Friday evening.

The party was originally scheduled for July 19, but was rescheduled due to weather concerns.

Children and families from Wood County and the surrounding area gathered at the Jackson Park pool at 6:30 p.m. for swimming and fun that lasted until 8 p.m. Children bounced on the pool’s diving boards and enjoyed the spiral water slide while many parents watched from the sidelines.

The picnic is one of several events put on by the Fraternal Order of Police Blennerhassett Lodge 79 every year, said Chris Morehead, president of the group.

It is funded through contributions from the community, including sponsors such as Foodland, Pepsi and the Jackson Park pool, Morehead said.

“We like to bring everybody in so that kids who wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this otherwise get a chance to have a good evening,” Morehead said.

The event is a way to allow the children of the community to mingle with area law enforcement and get to know them better, Morehead said.

“We want the kids to realize we are humans and just like them,” Morehead said.

Families enjoyed access to three inflatable play items: a bounce castle, an inflatable slide and a flat water slide.

Free hot dogs, snow cones, cookies, chips and sodas were available to everyone.

The most popular attraction was the pool, according to many children.

“Swimming is the best part!” said Ashley Miller, 8.

The Park children, Aaron, 8, and Sophie, 7, thought the water slide was the best part of the evening.

Jaden Carter, 6, had a more eager view on the activities.

“I came here to do everything,” Carter said.

Carter’s mother, Gerri Johnson-Carter of Parkersburg, said that she feels the event was a great outreach program for the community.

For the Holbert sisters, Nicole, 8, and Haley, 9, the evening was an excuse to bounce on inflatables and eat snow cones as well as swim in the pool.

“Going down the slide is the best part,” Nicole Holbert said.

Heather Clark of Parkersburg had her 12-year-old son at the event. Clark moved to the area from Morgantown last October, and saw the evening as a chance for her son to make some new friends.

“I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for the kids to get out and enjoy the evening,” she said.