There is family-style themed fun to be had today - Sunday, May 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. on the campus of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District on National Road, as it is the temporary location of the annual Pease Township Park District's - After Mother's Day event: Build a Basket of Hanging Flowers.
Participation cost is $10 per each basket to be built by a participant.
This community event is normally held at the historic Blaine Bridge, but could not be done there this year due to ongoing work at that site.
Photo provided by Don Feenerty
These three Martins Ferry children are ready to play in the dirt at today’s annual Build a Basket event. Left to right: Shay Davis, 7, is a second grader at St. Mary’s School in Martins Ferry; Dallas Stemkowski, 6, is a first grader at Martins Ferry Christian School; Kilee Davis, 10, is in fourth grade at St. Mary’s. Shay and Kilee sisters. Dallas is the grandson of Don and Robin Rhodes owners of Rhodes Florist and Greenhouses. Dallas said’ “I hope everybody comes and builds a hanging flower basket, because that’s how I get my allowance.” He said with a smile, and after revealing he was allowed to help select many of the choices of flowers for today’s activity on the campus grounds of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District located on National Road.
So even though it had to be moved this year, organizers are hopeful the public will not mind the alternate location, as it provides a guaranteed area for parking as well as for assembling the flower baskets at any point in the two-hour long event window.
The activity provides a perfect follow-up to your Mother's Day activities - or lack thereof - a week ago.
There is nothing that says spring has arrived and summer is not far behind quite the way a freshly potted basket of flowers ready to hang on the porch, or in your garden does: unless it is an arrangement that has been handcrafted through your personal efforts including - of course - the fun of having been able to get a little potting soil under your fingernails and on your hands.
The topper: you get to pick out the flowers to go into the basket arrangement you want to create. Floral experts will be on hand to offer assistance to those who want advice on the flowers they choose or how they construct their hanging basket arrangement.
(Did we mention you get to play with some really top quality dirt.)
In keeping with what has become a popular local tradition on the Pease Township Park District calendar, the annual "Build a Basket of Flowers" event is slated for this afternoon.
The bargain-priced baskets can be built by filling each with your choice of flowers and various other items, this is a terrific way to share an extra special gift with just about anyone you want to spend a little time with this afternoon - and who won't mind a little fun with dirt, (aka - quality potting soil).
The event is scheduled to be held this weekend so as not to compete with local businesses in any way.
There is one small but significant temporary change to the overall plan for this year's event: its location.
"A project underway there nearly resulted in the park district trustees deciding not to host it this year," shared Pease Township Park Director Don Feenerty. "But thankfully, that thinking never really took hold, and the popular community wide event is again being held, but the location changed just a little as we shifted it to the Irene Ehni Memorial Softball Park, next to the administration building on the campus of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District, on U.S. 40."
Repair work and construction on the Arches of Memory Viaduct adjacent to the historic Blaine Bridge would make it impossible to find parking for all those who attend," said Feenerty, noting more than 200 people took part in the activity last year.
The answer as to where the event could be relocated for this year's activity was quick in coming.
"It took only a short time to find a perfect substitute location," offered Feenerty.
"This year the Park District is hosting the event at the site of the Irene Ehni Memoral Softball Park next to the administration Building at the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District's campus," he said, as it will also provide access to a large parking area on that campus.
"We felt it only fitting that the event be moved to the softball park. After all it was one of our Park Commissioners (Frank Pritchett of Bridgeport) who originally conceived the idea of the new softball park on the school's grounds," Feenerty offered. "The Park District was also one of the financial contributors responsible for the building of the park, so this is a great way to showcase the new softball park, and facilitate the annual event."
Keeping the project supporters roster close to home seems no problem at all for this venture and its organizers as the flowers and other necessary materials to craft the hanging baskets are again being supplied through Rhodes Florist and Greenhouses, headquartered in Bridgeport.
Owners of the local business, Don and Robin Rhodes, have been regular supporters of the increasingly popular annual public event since it began by generously providing the flowers for the activity and also through their personal and professional cooperation, said Feenerty.
"We have something for everyone," said Don Rhodes. "Flowers for full sun, flowers for shade, flowers that drape over and hang down and flowers that stay in a tight bunch."
Also supporting the community event is another local florist and greenhouse business.
"Ferda's Garden Center is providing