Thumbs up: Egg Hunt
While there were multiple South Sound Easter egg hunts for kids last weekend, an event for adults — using flashlights — drew 1,800 people to the Regional Athletic Complex off Marvin Road. Sponsored by the Lacey Parks and Recreation Department, the egg hunt proved to be a giant – and quick – scramble. Participants were lined up on five of the athletic fields: a field for ladies only, one for those over the age of 40 and three fields for all comers. Some 6,000 plastic eggs were spread across the fields, along with bags of coffee, candy bars, bags of chips, etc. At the start signal, the race was on. Jeannette Sieler, recreation supervisor, said, “It was over in 20 seconds.” The plastic eggs contained everything from a piece of candy to coupons for movie passes, hotel stays, gift cards and the grand prize, a coupon in a golden egg for an LCD television. The flashlights ranged from tiny pen lights to one fellow with a light estimated to be two feet in diameter. “He said it was some mega-watt something,” Sieler said with a laugh. “It lit up the field.” The smart participants had head lamps, she said, freeing both hands to scoop up prizes and eggs. No one left a loser, because anyone who didn’t score a prize received a coupon for a free coffee at Olympic Crest Coffee Roasters. The real beneficiaries are the children who will enroll in Lacey Parks and Recreation programs this summer and fall. Children who cannot afford the recreation fee will receive a full scholarship paid for with the proceeds from the flashlight egg dash. A big thumbs up to Lacey Parks and Recreation and the merchants who donated prizes for this successful event.
Thumbs down: National Union
Members of Local 470 of the Regional Council of Carpenters for decades have enjoyed the use of Carpenters Park on Long Lake. Upkeep and improvements at the nearly 12-acre park, which overlooks the east side of Long Lake in Lacey, were paid for with union dues. Yet Robert Bitz of Tacoma, a frequent camper at the park and a member of Local 470 for more than 30 years, has found – along with other union members and park goers – that his card for the entry gate no longer works. That’s because the national union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Washington, D.C., decided to streamline its operations throughout the country. Members who used to belong to Local 470 now are members of Local 129 in Lacey. The forced change in locals meant the union members lost access to the park. “We bought it, our dues paid for it and we should be entitled to it,” Bitz said. We agree. No decision has been made about the park, Regional Council of Carpenters spokesman Eric Franklin said. “The former members of Local 470 want a decision and they want it now, but it’s not forthcoming,” he said. That’s unfortunate. Dues paying carpenters deserve better from the union they have supported for years — in some cases decades. The future of Carpenters Park is very much up in the air, as is the question of access for union members.
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Thumbs up: Arts Walk
The spring Arts Walk celebration was a huge success, capped off with an outstanding Procession of the Species along the streets of downtown Olympia. The fact that Saturday was the warmest day of the year, with the temperature climbing to 69 degrees, boosted the attendance to an estimated 30,000 spectators. About 3,000 people participated in the procession, which celebrated its 17th year. The 42nd Arts Walk celebration kicked off Friday evening with artisans displaying their work in 133 downtown locations — up from 127 last year. The incredible work, which ranged from metal work to photography, from hand-crafted items to oil paintings, was a remarkable display of the incredible talents of South Sound artists. At 9:30 p.m. Friday, the Luminary Procession was under way with beautiful luminary art, drumming and music. Entertainment drew huge crowds to the downtown business district. Many people were back Saturday as the art displays and entertainment continued. The late afternoon procession displayed the creativity and genius of participants who dressed as everything from a giant razor clam to a nimble spider and accompanying web. The drums accompanying the Samba Olywa dance troupe thundered in the chests of spectators who greeted entrants and their Octopus’ Garden theme with loud cheers. Procession and Arts Walk participants and spectators alike applauded this year’s event.