Neighborly Neighborhood Picnic Held on Clearwater Beach
By Vicki Jackson
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard (center) chats with Clearwater Beach Association members Susan Boschen (left) and Vicki Jackson (right) as other members of City Staff were greeted by Beach neighbors.
In keeping with the City of Clearwater's encouragement for neighborhoods and homeowner's associations to set aside a common date for citywide participation, the Clearwater Beach Association once again sponsored a welcoming picnic at Triangle Park on North Beach. However, this island community is not new to the celebration, having established a spring break "break" some years ago.
Burgers, franks, and wurst were roasted on borrowed grills, while a delicious selection of side dishes and desserts were brought by those in attendance. Never mind the inconvenience of dining without benefit of a table, why is it that food always tastes better when eaten outdoors?
Association members, neighbors, friends and guests lounged in chairs or circulated on the pleasant overcast afternoon, while a younger set played volleyball and children consumed dessert sandwiches-- a stack of two brownies with a chocolate chip cookie filler.
While dozens and dozens of neighborhood faces and names dominated the scene, a City of Clearwater van brought other representatives for a brief visit-Mayor Hibbard and Planning Director Mike Delk among them. They planned to put in an appearance at two-thirds of the 22 neighborhood gatherings around town. Also present was Clearwater Harbormaster Bill Morris, in addition to several members of the Police and Fire Departments, as is customary. The children, and probably more adults than would admit it, always enjoy the Fire Truck's flashy exit.
There weren't as many dogs in attendance as in years past, but much of the drifting conversation centered on pets-birds and dogs. It was good to see familiar faces, and to just idle time visiting. Some people wondered if, with all the new development, a different class of tourist might be emerging on our beach. One local craftsperson and long-time Pier 60 vendor remarked that, although this Spring Break had witnessed about a third less foot traffic, those same shoppers had purchased twice the volume.
The sun came out as hard-working volunteers took down the tents and tables, while other folks gathered their empty dishes and folded their lawn chairs. Everyone agreed that it had been a most enjoyable afternoon. We'll see y'all later.
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