Playground gets boost with free barbecue

Offer it and they will come — especially when what you’re offering is free food.

Erin Prehn buys some goodies from the Kin Kids bake sale

Erin Prehn buys some goodies from the Kin Kids bake sale

Offer it and they will come — especially when what you’re offering is free food.

A free community barbecue attracted hundreds to West Stettler Park last Wednesday and served as the official launch party for a major fundraising project in the community.

The Kinette Club of Stettler is working to raise $175,000 to build a new children’s playground in the park. Project chair Allison Baird said Wednesday that they are already over the $60,000 mark in terms of donations.

“We decided we wanted to do a big project in the community,” she said, adding that the Kinettes decided a playground was needed in the neighbourhood. “We’re really, really excited to give back.”

The playground, designed by Blue Imp Play Ideas of Red Deer, will be suitable for children aged two to 12 and will feature multiple play areas with a colourful design.

Last week’s barbecue was sponsored by Newalta, which also donated $10,000 towards the project. A bake sale held by the Kin Kids, as well as donations received Wednesday, added another $1,500 to the tally.

Baird estimated that 500 hamburgers and 300 hot dogs were served. At times, more than 100 people waited in line for food.

“Sales are good, we’ll put it that way,” said Kevin Plante of Newalta, while running one of the barbecue grills. “We’ve got ‘em lined right up.”

“We ran out of food and had to get some more,” Baird said later in the week. “It was fantastic.”

Fundraising for the playground has been underway for around two months.

Other events coming up include the Kinettes’ annual rummage sale in September and a Dueling Pianos musical fundraiser planned for March.

Baird said the Kinettes are still looking for sponsorship and support from businesses, individuals and families. Once the project reaches the $75,000 mark in donations, organizers intend to apply for a federal government grant.

Playground construction is planned for next May.