ALPENA - The Alpena Farmers Market is launching a new event called "Play it Again Sports Day" on Aug. 4 and it needs the help of local sports enthusiasts to make it successful. The event will feature representatives from local sports organizations, who can answer questions about leagues and the sports and free sporting equipment will be handed out to those who need it.
Farmers market President J.B. Cook said the intent of Play it Again Sports Day is to provide the tools needed for children and adults to be able to participate in the sport of their choosing without having to spend a lot of money on equipment.
"We are trying to get kids who maybe aren't into sports or don't know much about them to get involved. Playing sports is healthy for them," Cook said. "We also want to include adults because we think there are a lot of people out there who may have been involved in sports in the past and would like to play again. This effort will help provide them with baseball or softball gloves, bats, tennis rackets and other supplies. All for free."
In the weeks leading up to the event, sporting equipment will be taken by donation from the public or groups who may have a surplus. Cook said the gear can be dropped of at the market on Wednesday and Saturday each week from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. He said items such as golf clubs, skateboards, canoes, weight sets, cleats, footballs and ice skates will be accepted. He said if it can be used in a sport, the farmer's market would like to have it.
"People can clean out their basements, garages and attics and if they find something that they don't use any more or have replaced it, I hope they bring it to us," Cook said. "If the equipment is in fairly good shape we will take it, clean it up, and make it as nice as we can to be given away. I hope we get a lot and whatever is left over we will either hold until next year or distribute in some other way later."
There also will be a special speaker at the event who will promote a new program at the Alpena Regional Medical Center that will help teach kids the importance of exercise and eating healthy. Cook said Melissa Tolan-Halleck's presentation will fit in nicely with the farmers market's initiative.
"She will be talking about the new program and it is really going to be focusing on getting kids up and moving and eating better," Cook said. "She really wants to inform people about it and to help the kids and this provides her a good chance to be able to do that."
For more information or to make a donation for the Play it Again Sports Day you can call Cook at 255-9372 or Jim Mott at 354-2768. The farmers market is located behind city hall in the parking lot.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.