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Beline Obeid

August shows jump in park attendance

October 03, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Attendance steered a weather helm this summer at Pier Park.

The season broke with mild temperatures, turned rainy and ended in a wake of muggy, 90-degree memories.

Grosse Pointe Farms recreation administrators extrapolate attendance by the number of vehicles entering the park’s inner lot.

“Each car has about two to three people on average,” said Dick Huhn, park director.

Vehicles parked in an overflow field across Lakeshore aren’t tallied.

Last May through August, 77,838 vehicles entered the lot.

The figure is 4,092 less than during the same period the year before.

The busiest recent year was 2010, when 85,050 cars entered the inner lot.

This summer totaled nearly 8 percent fewer cars than yearly average during the same period since 2009.

August was the only month with an increase over last year, totaling 86 more cars.

“Sometimes after the later part of August, attendance is higher,” Huhn said.

Popular park attractions include tennis courts, platform tennis, lakeside gazebo, a lake overlook, observation platform with binoculars, sailboat races, an air conditioned community center, a fishing rodeo and a concession stand where cheeseburgers and crispy French fries are top sellers, according to operator Dick Graves.

“There’s a lot of facilities here, considering how in close proximity things are to each other,” Huhn said.

The Farms Barracudas municipal swim team did its part to draw attendance.

The busiest day of summer, Wednesday, July 17, coincided with a home swim meet against Grosse Pointe Shores. The count totaled 1,325 vehicles.

“It was the third year in a row we went undefeated in dual meets during the regular season and won the finals,” Huhn said.

Boaters ended the season strong.

“We started with quite a few open wells at the beginning of summer,” Huhn said. “By the first part of August, all were rented.”

There’s also a waiting list for kayak racks and personal watercraft slips.

“The waiting list for kayaks is never ending,” Huhn said. “We got our list down to something manageable, about 15. Now, we’re up to over 50 on the kayak waiting list.”

Upon wrapping up summer, the focus shifts to fall recreation programs.

“We have new classes starting this week,” Huhn said.

Low-impact cardio, yoga for adults, morning yoga and Zumba fitness run through October and December.

Fall family events include:

Concourse d’Elegance car show, noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, hosted by the Grosse Pointe Farms Foundation. Free admission.

Autumn Harvest, 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, features hayrides, a candy hunt, pumpkin decorating, a petting farm and more. The cost is $5 per person.

Grosse Pointe Run, 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, consists of 5K and 10K runs organized by the Grosse Pointe Sunrise Rotary Club and its foundation.

“The race isn’t a park function, but stages in the park lot,” Huhn said.

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