By Gina Thackara
For Sunday Dispatch
WYOMING — A summer Saturday offers lots to do – swimming, trips to the mall, camping, ice cream. And on Saturday, kids could swarm John Jude Bolin Memorial Park, play on the playground equipment, shoot hoops and enjoy lots of good food.
It was the Summer Sizzle.
And although the temperatures were in the 80s, almost the only things sizzling were the hot dogs and burgers. And the music.
“We’re just trying to have a party for the kids, help ‘em out on a Saturday afternoon, give them something to do,” said Ron McNeil, co-owner of the taxi service, Style by the Mile.
His partner, Tyrone Elmore, was glad to clarify the name of the business.
“We offer taxi service that’s basically stylin’,” Elmore said. “It’s at a cab price with a limo ride.”
He was glad to show all-comers the back of the car on hand for the afternoon, immaculate and complete with television and video available for the passengers.
McNeil and Elmore took over the park just down the street from their cab company to add a bit of fun to the afternoon. They spent the early part of the afternoon setting up long tables with all sorts of food, including mac and cheese that got rave reviews. Friends and relatives pitched in to help with the entertainment.
“We have games, we have prizes,” McNeil said, gesturing toward the books, toys and a set of bikes for kids of all ages. “And we have music.”
That last part was obvious to everyone in a two-block radius of the park. DJ Santana had speakers set up in four directions and his partner, Casanova, downloaded the tunes throughout the afternoon. The guys from Paterson, New Jersey, said it was the first time they’d been in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“Just tell us what you want to hear and we’ll find it,” DJ Santana said.
In the shade of the nearby tent, just in front of the prizes, Donna Wench, from Barnes & Noble, was ready to tell stories and get the kids involved in word-related activities.
“Barnes and Noble does community projects like this whenever we can arrange it,” she said. “We do things in the store, of course, but it’s fun to get out into the community as well.”
She tried to get Adam Zaleski-Bauman to settle down and do a puzzle, but he had other ideas. The 5 year old had just finished climbing into the State Police cruiser on hand for the afternoon and he was headed to the other side of the park.
“I like the swings,” he said as he ran off.
“We come to this park a lot,” said his mother, Julie Zaleski-Bauman. The park is walking distance from their house, and the family gets to enjoy activities there on a regular basis.
“We love the farmers market on Saturdays and we’ve come to the outdoor movies,” she said. “It’s a cute neighborhood park and a wonderful place for this community.”
Possibly the only disagreement at hand was which activity was better.
“I like the slides,” said 8-year-old Sharif Carter, of Pittston. But on his way to the playground equipment, he got side-tracked by some basketball on the nearby courts.
And “community” was the word of the day.
“We get involved in activities like these, too,” said Trooper Gerald Kincel, who had brought the cruiser over from the Wyoming Barracks, just around the corner. “The kids love to see the equipment, get into the car and see how things work. And they get to know us as well.”
While many businesses sponsor parts of activities in the area, there are few that actually host and event, McNeil said.
And his partner explained it more clearly.
“We got started about five years ago, and like any new business, we had our bumps along the way,” Elmore said. “But in the last year, we’ve been clickin’ pretty good. So now, we’re givin’ back to the community that helps us. You can’t keep it if you don’t give some back. It’s the right thing to do.”
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.