Volunteers make park social happen

| August 8, 2022
The 56th annual River View Community Park Chicken BBQ Social is about celebrating community and a sense of pride.
The weekend event began Friday night with Bingo, Saturday night was the first ever dive-in movie at the pool featuring “The Sandlot” using an inflatable screen and a projector. Sunday had events all day long. A 50-50 raffle, the Walhonding Rube band in the afternoon, and duck races with plastic ducks  began at 3:30 p.m. The first ducks to cross the finish line received cash prizes.
“The park was founded in 1967 and in order to raise funds, this event began enabling the park to open in 1969,” said Jesse Fischer, president of the volunteer park board. “The original socials began in the parking lot at the grocery store in Warsaw until enough money was raised to purchase ground for the park and build the amenities that we see here. We’ve kept it going as our main fundraiser every year and we have never missed a year. We are proud to be able to keep it going not just to raise funds for the park but it is a good day for the community to have food, fun and fellowship, which is our mission. This event is managed by the River View Community Park and our park board is all volunteer. The Walhonding Valley Firefighters cook the chicken. They are integral in helping us do this just like the people who donate homemade pies, people who volunteer to serve the food and the people who donate time and effort to set it all up starting at 4 a.m. this morning and about 5 p.m. tonight when we tear it down.”
For about 15-20 years now they have served 720 chicken halves each year.
“Our mission is always to sell out and we usually do,” Fischer said. “We’ve had great community support throughout the years The important part today isn’t just the fundraising but the fact that we have a  homecoming for Warsaw. It’s a chance for people to come back home, get together, have a nice Sunday afternoon with good food, good people, good events and good times. All the fundraisers here support the park.”
Firefighter Rick Cullison has been helping since 1975. “It’s been a lot of years but I enjoy doing it,” he said.
Charlie Wright always washes off the grills and does a very good job with that and Fire Chief Mike Snyder has been making it happen since 1985.
“This is all donation time to the park and the community. It’s public relations, the guys enjoy doing it and we have a good time every year.We miss alot of people too – Chet Beard and Ernie Norris is 91 and he was here this morning. He’s been on the department since 1956. We lost Chet, he was the heart of it all so we try to stay with it for him and for the community,” Snyder said.
“I used to always come for the shredded chicken but they don’t do that anymore so I just go with hotdogs,” said Carla Cullison. “But I love coming and having the social time with the community and getting to see people I don’t get to see all the time. It’s always a joy to come and catch up with everyone.”

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