Jake Burgess, recreation supervisor for the City of Ukiah is ready for summer, which always starts with swimming. “Our City Pool is open all summer, and weather permitting, we’re hoping for a Memorial Day weekend opening,” Burgess notes.
Two pools are located within Todd Grove Park. Plus, the stately oaks, immaculately tended lawns and ample picnic tables make the park a perfect place for family gatherings. Kids desperate to burn off excess energy can traverse the multiple climbing structures, swings and slides located near the pool.
Public swim hours take place Monday through Friday from 1:00-5:00, and from noon to 5:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Designated lap swim lanes are available to adults over 18. Kickboards and pull buoys are available for lap swimming. For those minnows and dolphins, American Red Cross-certified swim classes are offered for kids of all ages and skill levels, along with adult Aqua Aerobics and Senior Water Exercise Classes. Check the City’s website for details and scheduling.
On Tuesday, July 4, Todd Grove Park will be the setting for the City’s All-American Picnic in the Park. The free, family-focused event is held from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. “This event incorporates many fun activities including free swimming at the City Pool,” Burgess notes. Kids can jump within several bounce houses until Mom and Dad are ready for their afternoon siesta. There will be lots of games, arts and crafts, music and a Live Art Zone for kids. “We provide 16×16 squares, lots of paint and other holiday-themed materials for the Art Zone. Kids create their own squares, let them dry and take them home. It’s a really fun area that was a big hit last year,” Burgess continues.
The event is staffed by the City’s Summer Safari Day Camp staff. “We’ll have an old-fashioned tug of war and limbo competitions, parachute games and a Smoothie Bike, courtesy of North Coast Opportunities,” says Burgess. The Smoothie Bike is a great way to meld food with exercise. “Kids pedal a stationary bike fitted with an attachment that turns a blade to make smoothies. They choose their own ingredients—bananas, orange or apple juice and other fruits to create their own pedal-powered smoothie. It takes a few minutes to blend it up, but kids really love it.” When stomachs begin to growl, hot dogs, ice cream and other treats will be served near the pool—again, notes Burgess, free of charge.
The fun continues with the 26th Annual Sundays in the Park, the City’s flagship summer event, featuring six evenings of world-class entertainment.
“The series is a source of great civic pride and is cherished by locals and visitors as a summer tradition,” says Burgess. This year’s concerts will take place on June 11, June 25, July 19, July 23, July 30 and August 13. Concerts begin at 6:00 pm. The lineup is still being finalized and will be posted on the City’s website and Facebook page.
Over the years, Zasu Pitts, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Queen Ida, Pete Escovido and Pride and Joy have performed on the Todd Grove Stage. “Stay tuned. Our performers for this season are almost finalized,” Burgess smiles.
Concertgoers can pack a picnic or enjoy the fabulous food prepared by on-site vendors. “Bring a blanket, low-back chairs and your family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy top-notch performers while being part of the greater Ukiah community,” Burgess notes. The main event area is a smoke-free zone, and sorry, pets are not allowed.
One of the City’s most well-attended summer events takes place in Downtown Ukiah in the Alex Thomas Plaza. Movies in the Plaza brings the big screen outdoors, offering nighttime screenings of films suitable for the whole family. Six films are shown throughout the summer, always on Fridays and usually opposite the Concert in the Park weekends.
“Last year, we presented a mix of kid-friendly and ‘grown-up’ movies. This year we’re mixing it up a little bit. We’re considering a few date-night romantic comedies and maybe a classic film or two,” notes Burgess. “Last year, we presented the original Aladdin, which drew a huge crowd. We also screened Star Wars: The Force Awakens. People dressed up as Ewoks and Storm Troopers. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to see Star Wars on a big screen, under the stars,” he smiles.
Movies begin at dusk, and that starting time shifts as the summer wanes. “We start closer to 9:00 pm in June, and at about 8:00 in August,” says Burgess. For those wanting to snuggle with their kids, arrive early and set down your blankets close to the screen. Those who bring low-back lawn chairs are asked to stage them toward the rear of the Plaza. Vendors representing local non-profits provide everyone’s favorite movie night treats—popcorn, pizza, s’mores, ice cream and more. “Community support is what it takes to make these events such a success. We’re gratified for all of our sponsors, who are committed to our Ukiah residents and our greater community,” Burgess concludes.
Todd Grove Park and the Ukiah Pool are located at 511 Park Blvd. Alex Thomas Plaza is located at 310 S. State St. For a complete listing of City of Ukiah summer activities and updated concert and movie schedules, visit the City’s Facebook page, www.cityofukiah.com, or phone (707) 463-6231.