Family Night in Park '18

Children enjoy one of the inflatables that were available during last year's Murray Bank Family Night in the Park at Central Park in Murray. This year's activity will move to Chestnut Park.

MURRAY — Murray-Calloway County Parks Director Ryan Yates is going with an old advertising idea when it comes to his decision to Parks and Recreation’s July 4 event to a new location this year. 

The idea is presenting a product in the place the most amount of people will be able to see it. The hope is that the more people who see it, the more will be lured toward actually attending. 

So to do that, the annual Murray Bank Family Night in the Park is going to the more visible Chestnut Park along well-traveled Chestnut Street after having been hosted the past few years at larger, but less visible Central Park along Arcadia Circle. 

“From what I was told, it used to be at Chestnut, and looking at it, that makes sense,” Yates said ahead of Thursday’s event. “There are two big reasons for moving it. The first is that, the last two years, the crowds have died down, which we don’t want. 

“A big reason we think for that is, second, a lot of people know about it, but they really don’t know about it and that’s because over at Central, it’s kind of hidden. It’s a little off the beaten path.”

So, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Yates is hoping that having the flurry of activity in full view of motorists traveling Chestnut Street will help provide the proverbial sales hook that will draw those travelers into the park. Family Night continues through 10 p.m., which will be about the time the annual Briggs & Stratton/Murray Bank Freedom Fest Fireworks Extravaganza will be ending; the fireworks will originate from the Bee Creek soccer complex, which is next to Central. 

Activities that are expected to be part of Family Night will be hot-air balloon rides, a water gun fight, inflatables of varying sizes, a petting zoo and a variety of family-oriented booths. 

“So the idea is if you’re passing by Chestnut at that time, and you see a hot-air balloon rising up, then you see the inflatables, as well as water gun fights going on, you’re more likely to stop and check it out,” Yates said, adding that this presents another advantage. 

“Logistics wise, this is going to work out better for us because, now, we don’t have close the pool down at 3 o’clock like we’d been having to because we had to get everybody out of the pool area in advance of the event (for parking). Now, with everything moving to Chestnut, we can keep the pool open through 6 like we usually do.

“That also means, right up to the fireworks (at 9:30), people can keep using things like the dog park and the disc golf course.”

Yates also said that, as far as the fireworks show goes, Chestnut may provide one of the best views. 

“It’s far enough away from the trees (in Central), that you’ll be able to see it really well from there,” he said. “Also, the ball fields in Central are a great viewing place. Again, it’s just far enough away from the trees (in the area of the Rotary Club of Murray Amphitheater Performing Arts Pavilion near the middle of Central) that you’ll have a good view for it.”

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In addition, Thursday will mark the latest Avenue of Flags presentation in Central, where American flags will line Gil Hopson Drive from near the park entrance at Arcadia Circle to the pavilion. 

This was started a few years ago through a vote of the Murray-Calloway County Park Board and offers families and friends the chance to honor their loved ones who served in the military. It also gives people who have no military relations a chance to demonstrate pride for their country. 

Yates said it costs $50 to have a flag displayed. Phone the Parks and Recreation Office at 270-762-0325 for more information.

Yates said all proceeds from this go to benefit the Jimmy and Dot Rickman Disability-Friendly Playground in Central. 

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