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The last days of summer bring ice cream each year, and other fun things, to Brooklyn Park

RITA A. LEONARD - Liam, 9, and Layla, 6, received balloon sculptures created by Laura Panda and clown Gentle Biff.
Brooklyn's Sept. 10 Ice Cream Social in the Park, organized by the Brooklyn Action Corps, ended summer on September 10 with a celebration of 15 years of community fun.

Although the summer park program had been canceled this year by Portland Parks & Recreation, the grassy square of Brooklyn Park on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue is still considered the neighborhood's public living room. Ben Tarne reported that the Friends of Brooklyn Park was accepting donations through PP&R, and is still working to structure a program for next summer.

Since PP&R withdrew funds for this year's Brooklyn Park summer program, the popular Rock Climbing Wall was also not available to the Ice Cream Social. An aerial yoga hammock from Sensational Play LLC proved to be a popular substitute for active kids.

The Brooklyn Action Corps (BAC) neighborhood association, the sponsor of the social, sold a variety of ice cream treats, while neighborhood restaurant Upside Down sold tacos and sodas to hungry visitors. The "Yamhillbillies" entertained musically.

While there were fewer booths along the eastern fence line of the park this year, Artichoke Music made their first appearance at the event. Neighborhood volunteer Ed Rosney offered to "Teach mandolin lessons in five minutes" as an introduction to upcoming music classes at Artichoke's new site, 2001 S.E. Powell Boulevard.

Volunteers from Sacred Heart Church handed out information, free balloons, and bubble stuff, adjacent to displays by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Neighbors chatted about the changing look of the neighborhood caused by new construction and traffic problems.

Face painting and balloon sculpture stations were popular with children, as was the Polar Bear bouncy castle. One table sold handmade jewelry, and the Brooklyn Community Garden displayed garden books and a video of the popular site. Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Mohl commented, "Folks interested in securing a plot at the garden can visit my Facebook page and check 'Brooklyn Community Garden Portland'."

The traditional raffle supported by BAC and local businesses provided toys for kids and 32 local gift certificates for adults. BAC Treasurer Mark Romanaggi remarked, "Brooklyn businesses have been extraordinarily generous this year with their donations." Marie Phillippi added, "Fred Meyer also contributed generously to our purchase of ice cream."

The 16th annual "Brooklyn Ice Cream Social" will return to Brooklyn Park early next September – once again, to ring down the curtain on summer in Inner Southeast.

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