Just a little Family Fun

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2004


The aroma from the 'hot, hot, hot' funnel cakes wafted through the air, as freshly squeezed lemonade was served to thirsty customers waiting in line.

Meanwhile, a trio of elderly ladies sat next to each other in identical American flag lawnchairs, chatting amicably while waiting for the stage entertainment to begin.

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In the middle of Paul Porter Park's grassy field, the perimeter dotted by white-top tents, a small boy ran around in circles with blue-stained teeth. A young girl tried to shoot him with silly string as he ran by.

Coal Grove's 28th annual Family Fun Days lived up to its name.

"This is the third time we've been here today," Joyce Caskey, a Coal Grove native, said Thursday. She came with her grandchildren, sister-in-law and neighbors.

Sitting next to Caskey, Darrien Hankins, 9, explained the reason for the encore appearances.

"I had to come back for a funnel cake this time," Hankins said.

A marshmallow whizzed by as several junior high boys begin their ambush on several of their classmates who were lurking behind nearby trees. Their newly bought marshmallow guns were already being put to use.

Later in the evening, they ran out of marshmallows and began picking up previously shot ones from the ground in order to reload.

As Terri Johnson's daughter climbed out of the Bounce House - the carnival equivalent of an indoor trampoline, Johnson explains why she likes the festival.

"I just think it's good for our community to have something and get everyone involved," she said. Johnson came to the event with her sister, three nieces and her two children

Coty, 12, and Katie, 4. The mother said that all of her children enjoy it, and since they live near, it is very convenient.

First time attendees Vivian Mullins and her husband Buddy came from Barboursville, WVa., with their grandchildren for the celebration.

"They've got a lot of nice booths set up for the kids," Vivian Mullins said. Her favorite part was the food though, as she and her husband ate hamburgers bought at one of the tables.

Soon after, Dylan, 11, and Otto, "almost 9," excitedly ran up the stairs to join their grandparents in the gazebo.

Vivian Mullins explained that she came to see her son perform as a drummer for Lee McCormack.

In the playground area, a father and mother pushed their baby in a swing while grandpa stood off to the side, beaming.

Another lady helped a little girl get a pebble out of her shoe, so she could climb up the rungs and go down the slide.

All agreed that the mantra of family fun was exemplified and all ages could have a good time.

Hankins piped in more on her thoughts in between bites of funnel cake.

"I get to see most of my friends," she said. She also mentions that the singing and the fireworks are her favorite parts of it all.

Other people at the festivities relished in the beauty and history of Paul Porter Park itself.

Mariah Bentley, 21, of Ironton noticed the stones at the foot of each tree and flower bed planted within the park. The stones were inscribed with dedications and commemorations to volunteers and loved ones.

"Not only is it a great place to have fun this weekend, it's a great place to see history year-round," Bentley said.