July is Parks and Recreation Month, and Parks and Recreation departments around the state plan to celebrate their parks and the employees that run them.

Parks and Recreation Month was started by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and has been celebrated since 1985.

Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle declared Parks and Recreation Month official in Hunstville on Wednesday. The city of Huntsville will host free, family-friendly activities throughout the month to celebrate.

The Community Chalk Art Festival will be on Friday, July 15, at 5:30 p.m. at Big Spring Park. Downtown Huntsville Inc.’s food truck rally will serve dinner to residents. There will also be live music, and attendees can create chalk drawings near the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Rec and Read Day will be onTuesday, July 19, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Dr. Robert Shurney Legacy Center, where children of all ages can enjoy interactive storytelling. They can also participate in interactive STEM activities and receive free popsicles.

On Saturday, July 30, there will be a Concert on the Green at 5 p.m., which will wrap up Parks and Recreation Month with more live music at S.R. Butler Green at Campus 805.

Stanley Robinson, the public relations manager for Birmingham City Parks and Recreation, said that his department will be spending long hours this month doing its part to contribute to the World Games 2022.

The World Games kicked off on Thursday evening and will end on July 17. It is estimated that the games will generate $256 million in economic impact. The World Games welcomes 3,600 athletes from over 100 countries and consists of 34 unique sports. Athletes will compete in over 25 venues around the greater-Birmingham area.

“Extra work is an understatement,” Robinson said. “It’s a lot of moving pieces… Partnering with a lot of different groups to get it done.”

A handful of Birmingham city parks will be used for the World Games, including Avondale Park and McLendon Park, where Legion Field is located.

The Mountain Brook City Council is expected to proclaim Parks and Recreation Month official at a meeting on Monday, according to Parks and Recreation superintendent Shanda Williams.

“With the World Games in the area and us making improvements to our parks, it just seemed fitting,” Shanda said. “The timing was good.”

Lauren Traywick, the marketing and communications coordinator for Gulf Shores Parks and Recreation, said Gulf Shores does not have events coming up for Parks and Recreation Month, but it is hosting a scavenger hunt from July 18 through 31.

The “RecPursuit” event was created to highlight Gulf Shores parks and recreation facilities. Local businesses are sponsoring prizes for winners. You can find out more here.

“Although every month feels like Parks and Recreation Month for those working in this field, July is a great time to honor our dedicated professionals working tirelessly to make our community a better place to work, live and play,” Traywick said. “We take pride in our parks and recreation facilities/programs in Gulf Shores, and our team is continuously adapting and searching for new ways to better serve our residents and guests. Each day I am amazed by our team and what we are able to accomplish together for our community!”

Mayor Battle said, “Parks and Recreation Month is a great time to highlight our excellent parks and recreation facilities while also honoring our hardworking employees who serve the public. Whether you like to swim, run, bike or play pickleball or beach volleyball, our facilities offer something special for all our citizens.”

“We are always pleased to have our profession of parks and recreation and those people who are serving in the field as professionals recognized and growing that visibility within their communities, within the state of Alabama specifically, and across the nation,” said Natalie Norman, executive director of the Alabama Parks and Recreation Association. 

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com

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