August started with us finally getting our fifth and final RTOC member, Cat! After getting her acquainted with our house and our office, one of the first fun, work-related tasks we did together was Point Marion public art. The public art project is one of the first projects we did as a Corps back in February, and it was fun to be back there again with the mural almost now complete and with our team complete.
August also played host to the River Fest I have been planning for the past couple of months in California. In order to get ready for the event, we spent a day in Wyatt Park again, but this time doing a river clean up. After all the view corridor clearing we did in the past, much trash was unveiled along the shoreline and around the park. River Fest was an effort to show people that there is a beautiful park right in town that they can sit by the river and enjoy the outdoors, but no one would see that with all the glass and tires around. It was a very productive day and our work truck was full of trash by the time we left.
Two days later was River Fest. In many ways I was anxious to get the event over with, I have never planned a big fundraiser like this, or any type of fundraiser for that matter. From finding bands that would dedicate their time to play, and finding a whole mass of vendors to fill up the streets, along with all the other tiny things that someone usually doesn’t think of right off the bat when planning an outdoor festival, it was quite the adventure. The weather miraculously held up for the weekend, not a rain cloud in the sky, for which I was very grateful. Everything ran smoothly for the most part, and at the end of the weekend I took a deep breath. It was totally worth it. The press came out to cover the event and I was even interviewed for the local paper. People were in and out of Wyatt Park all day; many folks just took a walk around and gazed at the river which you couldn’t see before all the view corridors were cleared; others sat at the picnic benches and ate food while listening to the music. The town was so happy with River Fest they even plan to continue it annually as a fundraiser to carry on the park enhancement projects in the California area.
As the month as August wrapped up, and with River Fest complete, I thought work would slow down a bit. I spoke too soon. A few months ago I wrote a grant for the PA Fresh Paint Days and just found out that we were one of 8 chosen throughout the state. I originally wanted to fix up the historic caboose in town, for it could definitely use a little TLC. The caboose sits right next to the public library, which is an old rail station. In next month's blog I'll attach before and after photos of the caboose.