By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The Marlborough Recreation Department, nearing the midpoint of the summer, is already well into its slate of summer programming, now offering weekly concerts, a wildly popular new splash pad, and planning an end of summer outdoor movie screening.
With those three efforts, one a longtime staple of the community, another debuting this year, and the third returning for its second year respectively, department director Zach Lambert says he and his staff are continually pushing to iron out kinks and innovate.
“We’re just trying to change it up, keep it new, keep it fresh,” he said of the long running summer concert series at Union Park downtown in particular. “It’s a good time.”
A summer favorite of community members, the concert series has regularly drawn attendees to the downtown area on Thursday nights to see musical acts take to the small white stage in the park.
“The community loves it because it’s downtown,” Lambert said. “You can go listen to music. You can go get some food. So the business owners love it too because they get business as well.”
In the spirit of keeping the program fresh, the department augmented this year’s lineup of summer concert mainstays like Flash Back or the Reminiscents with newcomers like Color Killer or Black Suede.
Both are bands made up entirely of young children, with the former, Color Killer, consisting of 8-12 year old musicians building a growing following around their energetic punk rock covers and original songs.
Beyond the summer concert series, the department has spent the summer working out the opening of a new splash pad outside its Ghiloni Park office.
“It’s right in the park where we work,” Lambert said. “We’re close by to observe it and maintain it if there’s any issues or anything like that…It’s a really popular summer spot to begin with so adding a water feature to cool people off is a home run.”
Despite some issues with water quality testing and a glitch that randomly turned off water flow through the attraction, Lambert said the splash pad is now running smoothly. For community members, that’s a good sign as the pad is now receiving heavy traffic and was particularly appreciated during the recent heat wave in early July.
“People are really excited about it,” Lambert said. “A lot of people were unaware that we had it and now they know. The thing is very, very busy on a daily basis.”
Finally, as it continues hosting Thursday concerts and opening its splash pad daily, the Recreation Department plans to end its summer with an outdoor movie screening at Ward Park.
First run last year and revived in June for a second year, the outdoor movie, Lambert said, has been a smash hit with community members. It offers pre-show entertainment including a selection of bouncy houses as well as free popcorn and slushies.
After what Lambert described as a surprisingly successful debut last year, the screening now operates through a collaboration between the Recreation Department and community groups like the Lions Club.
“We wanted to add something to our summer offerings and we wanted an event that we could do on our own and see what the reaction was,” Lambert said. “People were coming out of the woodwork. They loved it but it was a lot bigger success than we thought it would be. We used that to get more organized.”
Programming will indeed continue throughout the summer. For more information on the summer concert series, the splash pad, the movie screening, and the many other efforts of the Marlborough Recreation Department, visit their website mrd.recdesk.com.