Under a picture-perfect sky yesterday morning and afternoon, scores of children, parents and grandparents crowded Atkinson Common for the annual Kids Day in the Park.
They came for the bicycle and doll carriage parade and stayed for the free lunch, face-painting, games, crafts, music and more.
Organizer Jim Noyes estimated that at least 500 people would pass through the park by the end of the event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“People stay until we run out of food,” Noyes said with a laugh.
Latitude Sports Club served up about 500 hamburgers and 500 hot dogs, while Coca-Cola provided drinks and the Exchange Club of Greater Newburyport, which has been sponsoring Kids Day for the past several years, sliced up watermelon.
Many of the adults at the event marveled at the opportunity to entertain their children at no cost, while the kids seemed most excited to see a police dog and climb aboard the modern and antique firetrucks on display.
A group of Amesbury boys enjoying Richie’s slushes before heading over to the firetrucks all agreed that the Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 demonstration was their favorite part of the day so far.
“He found a gun,” said 8-year-old Nick Carullo. His mother, Erika, was quick to add that it was fake.
“Everything’s really fun,” Erika Carullo said. “It’s a beautiful day for it.”
The Carullo boys, who also include 7-year-old Ben and 4-year-old Jacob, were joined by friend Logan Genualdo, 4, on their first Yankee Homecoming outing of the year. Having just returned from vacation, Erika said they were looking forward to checking out the rest of the week’s activities.
Another popular attraction was the Kids as Peacemakers’ face-painting booth, which had a long line stretching from it all day. Butterflies were a popular choice for the girls, while 2-year-old Liam Dellapaolera of Amesbury was eager to get an eagle.