Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Otsego hosts family-friendly summer programs

Children participate in one of the Otsego Summer Fun Night events last year. (Photo provided)

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

Fun, family-friendly summer activities are back in Otsego.
Summer Fun Nights will take place each Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at the TOP Pavilion through July 30, while Summer Events at Northside Park will take place each Wednesday at 1 p.m. through July 31.
Otsego Summer Fun Nights is made possible by a partnership between Together Otsego Prospers (TOP) and Otsego Public Schools food service. The Summer Events at Northside Park is sponsored by Otsego Public Schools.
Both the Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon programs feature free meals for children ages 18 and younger. Those over the age of 18 can purchase a meal for $5.
Otsego city manager Aaron Mitchell is excited to have both programs back this summer.
“Before I began my career as a city manager, I stayed at home with both of my kids and I would have loved to have programs like this,” he said. “The ability to have these programs right in our backyard would make everything a lot easier.”
This is the third installment of Otsego Summer Fun Nights and it’s the first year Together Otsego Prospers has been involved, taking over from the City of Otsego.
“It makes a lot of sense for this to be a TOP program this year, since this event series is a perfect fit for their mission,” Mitchell said. “TOP is a local nonprofit that strives to help the Otsego community with its sponsoring of events, such as Gus Macker and the Artisan Market.”
Otsego Summer Fun Nights began on Tuesday, June 18, with Touch A Truck that featured many of the city’s vehicles.
Themes for the remaining Tuesday evenings are:

  • June 25: OFD Water Night—Enjoy getting cooled off by an Otsego Fire Department fire truck.
  • July 9: Youth Ministries Night—Multiple local church groups will be present to introduce themselves and help families get plugged into local groups.
  • July 16: Wishbone Night—The popular Wishbone Animal Shelter will be presenting on the importance of taking care of your pets.
  • July 23: Otsego Arts Night—The local nonprofit Otsego Arts will be having a rock painting activity.
  • July 30: Outdoor Discovery Center—The ODC will once again bring some animals and teach attendees about them.
    “I think the way that the Otsego Fun Nights program is put together is pretty special,” Mitchell said. “We have the OPS Food Service Department receiving grants to provide free food to any child who shows up along with some free entertainment that is sponsored by local businesses. 
    “It is another example of how Otsego stakeholders try to go the extra mile when it comes to community service.  This year, we tried to focus more on community organizations than presenters or shows.”
    Summer Events at Northside Park began on June 19 with magician Alan Kazam providing the entertainment.
    Upcoming events are:
  • June 26: Bulldogs Beautify
  • July 10: Paloejoe-Dinosaur Artifacts
  • July 17: Mary’s Country Critters Petting Zoo
  • July 24: Back-to-School School Supply Handout
  • July 31: Home Depot Building Day
    Lunch is available starting at 12:30 p.m.
    “The Wednesday lunch programs are incredibly valuable,” Mitchell said. “It is an incredible blessing for anyone who is either a stay-at-home parent or just trying to get your kids out of the house during the summer. 
    “This program would not be made possible without OPS Food Director Julie Guthrie and her staff’s work. All of Julie’s staff have the biggest hearts for our community that you will find. I highly recommend both programs for anyone with little ones.”

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