The Suburbanite
  • Rock the Docks brings Springfield Lake to life

  • Springfield Lake once again made for a beautiful backdrop for Rock the Docks, a free annual event that took place beside the lake July 5-7.

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  • Springfield Lake once again made for a beautiful backdrop for Rock the Docks, a free annual event that took place beside the lake July 5-7.
    The Springfield Lakemore Festival Committee (SLFC), under the direction of volunteer coordinator Cindy Michael, staged what has grown into a big weekend party on Springfield Lake over the past six years.
    This year's festivities began Friday and continued through Sunday, marking the sixth year of Rock the Docks. Attendance records were broken with this year's turnout, prompting trustee Dean Young to note, "We grow every year and try to add an event each year."
    "We had record-breaking crowds all three days and collected enough canned goods Sunday to fill three bins for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank," Michael added.
    As part of the festival, canned goods were collected in exchange for discounted ride tickets. The food items were collected for donation to needy families in the area through the food bank. Fittingly, families from all over the area came to enjoy the festival.
    On the south shore of the lake (located in Lakemore), boat races launched. Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice applauded the races and noted the event had both a national and international flavor.
    "The boat races were a success," Justice said. "There were boaters from as far away as Canada and Florida participating. The Three Rivers Association is hoping to promote the sport with providing an instructional workshop next year on a first-come, first-served basis."
    The boats racing around the lake were not the only ones to play a significant role in the festival. Pontoon boat rides served as an effective way for festival attendees to travel to the event without having to worry about driving and finding a parking space.The lines were long for the free pontoon boat rides around the lake. The rides have become so popular that trustee Deborah Davis' sister Glendel Gondos comes from Orlando, Fla. every year just to work at the dock for the boat rides.
    "The pontoon rides to the festival allowed many residents to enjoy the festivities without the hassle of driving and parking," Lakemore fiscal officer Tracy Fast noted.
    The lake truly began rocking Friday evening at the Vince Mealy Bicentennial Gazebo, located lakeside. Crowds rocked with the award-winning band Marshall Law, a group playing country music, old and new, southern rock, Motown, bluegrass and music from the '50s and' 60s.The music continued Saturday with Xtra Crispy and Swizzle Stick Band.
    Friday evening brought in a record-breaking crowd for a single night of the festival and the entire event also set an overall attendance mark. Young said Friday ticket sales for the amusement rides increased 35 percent. "Last year, Friday, ticket sales were 8,400 and it grew to 11,500 this year," Young said, adding that ticket sales are just one indicator of the event's growth.
    Page 2 of 2 - With children's crafts provided by Home Depot, Outback Ray and his exotic animals on hand and amusement rides, music, boat races to entertain, there was plenty for the thousands who attended over the course of the weekend to enjoy. Add in some favorite types of fair food and there was something for everyone.
    The Saturday night fireworks display to cap the festival's second day was visible from all points around the lake and was a highlight of the event for many attendees.
    One addition to the festival this year was a teen dance held at the fire station, which Michael described as a big success. Dan Carl from DC Sound provided music for the dance and a large teen crowd participated.
    The following day, a large crowd gathered at the fire station for a pancake breakfast hosted by the Springfield Fire Department.
    "Another home run was the free pancake breakfast provided by the Fire Department Saturday morning," Michael said.
    Fire Chief Vic Wincik added that the department typically sponsors a cause people can donate to as part of such events.
    "The fire department does not charge for breakfast events because it is our opportunity to give back to the community. This weekend's breakfast was sponsored by the Springfield High School French Club to help raise money for the club's trip to Europe in 2014," Wincik said. "The breakfast was well-attended to the point we ran out of pancakes. A thank you goes to the Springfield Baptist Church for letting us use the church's tables for the breakfast."
    Feats of consumption were not limited to breakfast food, as Stacey Hailey won the wing-eating contest, sponsored by Wing Warehouse. Hailey plans to return next year to defend his title.
    "It was a wonderful event for the entire community," Parks Director Doug Foltz said. "I was very happy to be a part of it. We had that heavy rain and it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the festival," he said. Foltz said it was family oriented, was well done and went off without incident. I am so pleased to be a part of it. I look forward to being a part of it next year."
    Committee members were thrilled with the event and the crowds that attended and as they wrap up the business of this year's event, they are already thinking creatively for next year's festival.

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