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Looking for free, summer fun? Springfield’s parks to hold kids events

More donations to the National Trail Parks and Recreation District means a longer list of free events for children and families this summer.

A $2,000 donation will fund a new program called Snyder Park Kidsfest Fridays, National Trail Deputy Director Brad Boyer said. The program will run for three Fridays in a row beginning July 15.

The Kidsfest Fridays will include an hour of entertainment at the band shell in Snyder Park, near Bethie’s Sprayground and the Speedway Children’s Park.

Friends of Snyder Park, a resident’s group that raises money for projects in the park, donated $1,000 to make the Kidsfest Fridays possible. Another anonymous donor also gave $1,000.

“We hope that these events attract more people to Snyder Park’s band shell to see the amazing improvements that have been made to the park,” Boyer said.

Entertainment acts scheduled to perform at the events are: comedy magician and ventriloquist Todd Anderson on July 15, comedian juggler and ventriloquists Mike Hemmelgarn on July 29 and Madcap Puppets troupe from Cincinnati on July 22.

National Trail has several other free summer events scheduled. Earlier in June NTPRD and the OSU Extension started the Health Nut Mini Camps, held every Friday until July 15. The Community Health Foundation provided a $3,000 grant to make the event free for participants.

This summer is also the first full season for the splash pad at the park, a free water attraction. It's open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day and can be activated with the button that says "Push me" on the sidewalk near the sprayground. The $350,000 water playground near the Speedway Children's Park was built last summer by the Friends of Snyder Park.