A dazzling display of fireworks helped to launch the Loudoun County (Virginia) Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) 50th Anniversary celebration on August 13, 2016. This event, filled with music, games and activities organized by each of the agency’s program areas, including community centers, parks, sports, adaptive recreation and senior centers, was the first of more than 30 events that are scheduled through the end of July 2017.
To encourage residents to explore the breadth and depth of the agency’s services, an event “passport” is being used, which also offers them the opportunity to earn a variety of prizes. On each passport, citizens will collect stamps from the agency’s more than 40 locations. According to PRCS Director Steve Torpy, “We have a passport station at every event, so you can either get a stamp for attending each event and/or by taking the passport journey and visiting the various PRCS locations across the county.” This approach seems to be working as Torpy reports, “People have been traveling all over the county to participate and that is exactly what we wanted to see happen.” All completed passports are entered into the grand drawing for a hot air balloon ride.
A number of signature events, such as the Bluemont Fair and Lucketts Fair, as well as a variety of activities and programs, are included in this year-long celebration. In January, in addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, PRCS will also host the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, and, at the end of July, the celebration comes to a close with the PONY Nationals Fastpitch Softball Tournament. It draws more than 100 teams from around the country and internationally and is a great economic driver for the county.
“As a department and a cornerstone of the community, we’re trying to reach out to all the different groups of people who live in Loudoun County — the different cultures, interests, ages that we have, and highlight through this [Anniversary Celebration] program the breadth of services we provide,” says Torpy.
— Sonia Myrick, Managing Editor of Parks & Recreation magazine