Party like it’s 1977

By on July 26, 2017
At about the same spot that playground leader Mike Zell used as his main office at the Akron playground, there was a gathering of those very excited for the big reunion coming up Aug. 3. Shown having a good time are (front row, left to right) Terry Hildebrand (Rec playground coordinator), Mike Zell (longtime Akron playground leader and reunion organizer), Mike Zimmerman (most dedicated Akron playground attend-ee), Tom Zell (former playground regular and current Akron Chief of Police); (back, l-r) Joy (Keith) Good, Jeff Keith, Jolene (Keith) Kapczynski, Jerry Keith, June (Keith) Hall — all regular Akron playground attendees, along with (back) Andy Fasnacht, crashing the Keith family line. Photo by Missi Mortimer

At about the same spot that playground leader Mike Zell used as his main office at the Akron playground, there was a gathering of those very excited for the big reunion coming up Aug. 3. Shown having a good time are (front row, left to right) Terry Hildebrand (Rec playground coordinator), Mike Zell (longtime Akron playground leader and reunion organizer), Mike Zimmerman (most dedicated Akron playground attend-ee), Tom Zell (former playground regular and current Akron Chief of Police); (back, l-r) Joy (Keith) Good, Jeff Keith, Jolene (Keith) Kapczynski, Jerry Keith, June (Keith) Hall — all regular Akron playground attendees, along with (back) Andy Fasnacht, crashing the Keith family line. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Reunion of Ephrata playground system set for Aug. 3 in Akron

Veteran Akron playground leader Mike Zell took his duties at Akron’s Broad Street Park very seriously back in the ‘70s.

Now he is taking a celebration of those carefree and fun-filled days just as seriously by organizing a reunion set for Thursday, Aug. 3, starting at 6 p.m. back at Broad Street Park. The reunion is open to anyone involved in the Ephrata playground system over its decades-long history — not just those from Akron.

Once the idea was hatched, Zell spent a great deal of time over the past year pouring through old copies of The Ephrata Review and Ephrata Rec files — as well as speaking to former leaders and playground organizers such as Terry Hildebrand and Alan Buffenmyer. Zell has since been providing a weekly look back in a new Ephrata Review column at what a typical summer at playground would entail — from daily activities, weekly themes, baseball leagues, penny carnivals, field trips, crafts and more. The columns have created a great deal of buzz and reunion organizers hope that translates to a nice crowd showing up Aug. 3 to take a step back in time.

Those arriving that evening should first hear the music of the ‘70s playing throughout the park, and plenty of familiar activities available. Kickball, tetherball, four-square, deck tennis, Frisbee golf, volleyball and of course, knock hockey will all be available to those attending. Some vintage APBA cards and boards will also be on hand.

There will also be some simple crafts and tye-dyeing….just like the old days — as well as complimentary vintage candy and sodas, snacks and a Slushy machine!

Many former playground leaders have already committed to being in attendance and are anxious to see as many of their former attendees as possible.

There were also be several give-away items, including Akron Lions midget-midget uniforms and trophies from the years 1980-87.

Parking will be available at both Ten Thousand Villages off of Route 272 and at Akron Insurance on Main Street. There is also limited street parking along Broad beyond left and center of the ballfield.

In the event of heavy rains, the event will be moved to the large pavilion at Roland Park.

Guest planning to stay awhile and chat, are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

And lots of stories.

Zell certainly will have some of his own he plans to share as MC of the night.

See you there!

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One Comment

  1. dave weaver

    August 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Ephrata playground system was a wonderful thing in my childhood thank you

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