PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (July 14, 2021) – More than 400 members of the Presidio of Monterey and Naval Postgraduate School communities gathered for a “Party in the Park” July 9 that included a petting zoo, games, food, live music and more.
“It’s a Friday afternoon, it’s beautiful and we all need the sunshine,” said Erica Meyers, community recreation director for NPS Morale, Welfare and Recreation and an organizer of the event. Many community members have received the Covid-19 vaccination, and the event gave people an opportunity to socialize and have fun in an outside environment. In this regard, it was another step forward in the return to normalcy for PoM.
The party took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at La Mesa Village, a housing area in Monterey that the Parks at Monterey Bay, a private company, runs for the military. As the party took place outside, the California Medical Detachment held a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the housing area’s community center.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Reed, commander of CalMed, said the unit holds a vaccination event once a week, and organizers thought the party would be a good opportunity to find people who wanted to receive the vaccine.
“This is our primary enrollment population for the clinic, and we want to make sure that we offer the vaccine to the beneficiaries,” Reed said. “Also, I wanted to set the [information] booth up so that if anybody had questions about enrollment, or if we had new arrivals who needed to be switched in Tricare, we could give them the information.”
In all, the unit vaccinated 38 people during the event, said Maj. Hanu Ravindranath, chief of ancillary services, CalMed.
In addition to the CalMed information booth, participants could also visit booths staffed with personnel from Navy Fleet and Family Services, the Parks at Monterey Bay, NPS MWR and other organizations.
Ashlee Crook, a La Mesa resident, brought her children, who range in age from 14 months to 12 years, and her children particularly enjoyed the prize wheel, petting zoo and cookie decorating.
“I’ve got four kids, and any time they hold these kinds of events, we love to participate and get the camaraderie of the neighborhood and meet other fellow military families or retirees and just enjoy ourselves,” Crook said.
Her son, Campbell Crook, 7, said his mother homeschools him during the summer, and he did his work as quickly as possible that day so he could come to the event.
“It’s fun for kids because there’s candy and prizes,” said Campbell, holding up a bag full of goodies and showing off the sunglasses he won.
Meyers was glad to see so many people come out and enjoy the party. “It’s a healthy environment for the community to get out,” she said. “I think kids need to be able to get out; families need to get out. It gives parents a break to let their kids decorate cookies and have five minutes just to sit back and watch.”