Sand Springs Parks Department officials held a press event Tuesday morning at River City Park to announce the details of the upcoming Riverfest event. The park will be officially rededicated as "Case Community Park" with a Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, September 9th. City Council members will be on hand along with Mike and Pat Case, who donated $2 million to the park renovation.
"For those of you that don't know Mike Case, you should because he is a fantastic guy. He stands behind the community," said I.J. Ganem, a musician who will be performing at the event.
"About a month from now the park will be completed, and it will be open for business. We're very excited about that," said Parks Director Grant Gerondale.
The festivities will last from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and will include a car show, hot air balloons, sidewalk chalk art contest, free hot dogs, live music, fireworks, and more.
Local band The Rogues Five will provide the entertainment for the event. The group of Sand Springs alumni charted regionally in the 1960s and opened for Jim Morrison and The Doors at the peak of their success. The band is comprised of I.J. Ganem, Randy Ess, Philip Wilson, Bard Coats, and Jamie Oldaker.
"What we tried to do as a committee in planning this party was reach out to all ages, to all genders, and I think we're doing that with the selection of these two artists," said Park Facilities Manager Jeff Edwards.
The Rogues will open up the show with classic rock music, while Morgan Ganem will perform during the evening festivities. Morgan is the son of I.J. and a prominent solo performer with residency at Safari Joe's H2O.
"It's a great community," said I.J. Ganem. "I remember actually being here at the river parks...with my father for the very first raft race...Today is actually my wife and my 36th anniversary and we had our first semi-date here." The Great Raft Race will return to the park Labor Day weekend.
"Anytime our city gets behind what we're doing, it's a big honor," added Morgan.
The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball organization will send representatives to dedicate a new "Thunder Cares" basketball court. The park renovation also features new playgrounds, horseshoe pits, an 18-hole disc golf course, improved infrastructure and parking, and additional multi-use athletic fields. The amenities are anchored around the 1.94-acre Great Lawn and amphitheater.
Parking is limited and a $10 fee will be collected in the late afternoon. The parking ticket will also serve as a raffle ticket for a television giveaway.
"We have a brand new entrance. A lot of people didn't even know we have a park here, and a lot of people didn't know how large the park is," said Edwards. "There's something for everybody...Whether Riverfest happens around this time of year, or if it happens at a different time, I think what we're going to do is build the excitement to have a large community-sized event. An all day thing that families can come out to enjoy and use the quality of life features that we have in the park for them."
Existing features within the park include the Case Community Center, Inez Kirk Soccer Complex, Jerry Adair Baseball Complex, Rotary Super Splash Pad, Will Ramsey Softball Complex, volleyball courts, a BMX track, and a rodeo arena.
The rodeo arena is slated for demolition this winter, while two new park improvements will be on the ballot in November. In a November 14 special election, Sand Springs residents will vote on five general obligation bond propositions. Proposition One calls for a new roadway to be constructed over the levee separating the park from the Sheffield Crossing development. Proposition Three will provide funds for a new paved parking lot at the baseball fields.