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Health, Safety Fair Returns To Community Center Park
ff bikes
A group of local youngsters look over the bikes to be given away at the end of the Health and Safety Fair hosted Wednesday in Riverbank Community Center Park. The bikes were donated by local businesses and individuals, as well as some that were purchased by Police Services officers with left over Shop With A Cop funds. - photo by Ric McGinnis

A warm, sunny afternoon greeted participants as the annual Bicycle Rodeo and Health and Safety Fair returned to Community Center Park this past week.

Although not part of Farmers Market in Riverbank this year, the youth-oriented event was successful, nonetheless.

In addition to Riverbank Police Services and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District personnel, sponsors wanted to recognize the many other community businesses and organizations which helped make it such an achievement.

Co-sponsors were the City of Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department and Central Valley Community Resources.

CVCR director and council member Darlene Barber-Martinez listed the participants. In addition to Police Services and Consolidated Fire officers, there were paramedics from Oak Valley Ambulance, Royal Neighbors, Target of Riverbank, SaveMart of Riverbank, the Masonic Lodge in Ceres, and the new Farmers Insurance office that is opening soon.

Others included the Riverbank Branch of the Stanislaus County Library, the Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance and City of Oakdale (and Riverbank) Animal Shelter, Casa Del Rio, Royal Neighbors, the Riverbank Federated Women’s Club, and the Guild Mortgage.

Activities hosted by the recreation department included their version of Sip ‘n Paint, a family-friendly, no-alcohol version of the learn to paint event, this time featuring lots of cold water.

Also available were the nearby assorted swings, slides and climbing structures of the park, a bounce house water slide and free use of the adjacent city swimming pool.

“We had a wonderful time at the Community Center Park. Although it was a hot day, the shade at the park served us well. We had six food vendors and 12 nonprofit, commercial, and craft vendors,” said Julia Petit, Parks and Recreation Supervisor. “I would say about 300 guests were there throughout the night.”

Police Chief Erin Kiely was pleased with the focus on bicycle safety for youngsters.

“I don’t have an exact count on the number of children that went through our (bike rodeo) program but we handed out in excess of 80 bike helmets to children and raffled off nine bikes,” the chief said.

At the end of the day, Kiely and other officers drew names to give away the 10 bicycles that had been donated for the event. In addition to bikes purchased by leftover funds in the department’s Shop With A Cop event last Christmas, F&M Bank and other groups and individuals provided a few of the two-wheeled vehicles.

“I enjoyed seeing everyone having a good time in the park and being engaged in the different activities. Even more, I enjoyed seeing the kids’ faces light up when they realized they had just won a brand new bike,” Kiely added. “Riverbank Police Services was truly grateful to see this much community participation in the event, especially on such a warm weekday evening.”

The final element of the evening didn’t begin until the bike drawings were over and everyone began heading home, about 8 p.m. A band took the ‘stage’ in the shade outside the Community Center Building, perhaps having avoided the earlier heat.

Family Fun Night activities continue, sponsored by the City of Riverbank, both tonight, Wednesday, July 18 and next Wednesday, July 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Center Park.


News reporter Virginia Still contributed to this story.