by Carolyn Bick
For the third year in a row, the Rainier Playfields echoed with children’s laughter, as they played in the sunny field, running through obstacle courses, whacking badminton birdies, dodging rubber balls, and climbing up rock walls during the Big Day of Play.
The day was part of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department’s Get Moving Initiative, organizer Lakema Bell said. The city has put on the event for the last 11 years, but it was the third year it had held the event in South Seattle, and the third year Bell had organized it. She estimated the day had seen between 5,000 and 7,500 people filter through the playfield last year, and expected the same this year.
“We have everybody from all walks of life, all ethnicities, ages, and genders,” Bell said. “The best part of today is the fruition of the vision for a whole year. … Kids playing, folks feeling good and utilizing all the different things we have available.”
Bell also said she was happy to see the attendees “moving in ways that are culturally relevant to them,” and that the day could help “address the different health disparities” across different groups.
For her part, parent Celena Charlie said she was glad to get her little girl outside. Charlie said she and her sister had been coming to the event since they were young. Now they bring their own children.
“It’s our first time bringing our kids out,” Charlie said, as she simultaneously helped her daughter unscrew a large bubble wand. “[They can] interact with other kids, and get out of the house … [and] get them active.”
Featured Photo: Te Fare O Tamatoa, a Tahitian dancing and drumming group, performs, during the Big Day of Play at the Rainier Playfield in Seattle on Aug. 18. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)