Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation department will celebrate the fourth annual Glow Week with three kid-friendly events Sept. 15-17 at Switchyard Park and the Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, parents and kids ages 1-12 are invited to visit the spray pad — a collection of fountains at Switchyard Park for the Splash and Glow Party. Children will be given glowstick accessories to wear while they play in the water or partake in dance competitions for kids and parents. Tickets to this event are available in-person for $3 and no pre-registration is required.
Later in the evening, kids can participate in a “glow hunt” — a search for hidden, glow-in-the dark prizes — on the lawn. Some prize items include tickets to other Glow Week events, gift cards to the Chocolate Moose and tickets to Bloomington Halloween events later this year.
Crystal Ritter, the Parks and Recreation’s Community Events Coordinator and Splash and Glow organizer, said she enjoys creating events for younger children. Ritter said Bloomington held the first Splash and Glow event last year, and several of the parents who attended reached out to Ritter to say how much they appreciated it.
This year, Ritter expects an even greater turnout.
“Last year, parents had just as much fun as the kids did,” she said. “A lot of the parents enjoyed the dance competitions as much as their children, so parents come ready to show off their dance skills as well.”
On Friday, guests are welcome to participate in the Glow in the Dark Scavenger Hunt at 8:30 p.m. in Switchyard Park. Visitors can search for glowing clues throughout the park and will be awarded prizes for solving the riddle. Event admission is $4.
Saturday, Glow Week will finish out with an all-ages Glow in the Park dance party at 8 p.m. in Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park. Tickets are $6, and the first 100 guests will be given free glowsticks.
Families are invited to enjoy live music from local DJ Madison True, known as DJ MADDØG on stage, while being sprayed with glow in the dark paint. There will be a black lit photobooth as well as neon face painting.
While True has performed at each of the previous Glow in the Park events, they typically perform for crowds ages 18 and older. Because they often play for adults, the family-friendly atmosphere is refreshing for True.
“It's really fun to get that pure, childlike excitement in the crowd,” True said. “It’s a different vibe and it’s really enjoyable to be around. I end up feeling kind of like a kid for the night, too.”
For True, the best part of Glow in the Park is the screaming — the shrill reply from the crowd of kids when the DJ announces, “Who wants paint?”
“(The screams) remind me of being at a boy band concert,” True said, “What other opportunity do you have where you can just douse kids with a paint hose?” they said, laughing.
Community Events Coordinator Bill Ream, who organizes Glow in the Park, said family members of all ages have enjoyed previous years’ events. The event is multigenerational and visitors’ ages have ranged from 1 year old to 71 years old, he said.
With music from a variety of different genres and a lot of glow in the dark entertainment, Ream said the event is sure to be fun.
“Last year, there was this one little girl that came up and said, ‘This is the best night ever!’” Ream said.