Annual Sanford picnic a ‘family friendly’ event

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Neighbors and friends got together in Central Park in Sanford Thursday night to enjoy the Community Cookout, sponsored by Sanford Police Department. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD – Is your preference a hamburger, hot dog, an ice cream biscuit or all three?

When you’re 9, like William Morin, the Sea Dog ice cream biscuit came first. After that? Well, he wasn’t saying.

Young Morin was among the hundreds of people who turned out Thursday evening for the annual Sanford Police Department’s Community Cookout in Central Park.

Those attending the annual event were eating, chatting, perusing the vendor booths for information and mingling with the men and women in uniform.

“Once a year, people get to see police officers in a non-traditional way,” said Police Chief Thomas Connolly. “It cannot be a bad thing when you get people together.”

Connolly, who grills the burgers at the event, said one big part of the annual cookout is the information on an array of programs and services dispensed by vendors – everything from the Head Start and the fuel assistance program at York County Community Action to information from NAMI Maine, Caring Unlimited, The Animal Welfare Society, Sanford Elks, Partners for Healthier Community and several more.

Amelia Hussey, 6, spreads relish on a hot dog at the Sanford Police Department’s Community Cookout, held in Central Park on Thursday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

On Friday, he said attendees went through 360 hamburgers, 360 hot dogs and close to 400 ice cream biscuits.

There were items for the kids – like bracelets with positive messages, including anti-bullying messages.

At one booth, Sanford Police Cadets demonstrated the art of finger printing, and kits were available for parents.

At the Sanford Elks booth, Sherri Frechette and others passed out information on drug awareness, gave out school supplies, and dispensed lemonade in bottles that said “Life does not rewind, choose life, not drugs.”

Sanford’s Animal Control Officer, Lauren Masellas was there with the tools of her trade – and stacks of information on everything from how to deal with nuisance wildlife, rabies, what someone needs to know if they’re going to get pet, and a whole lot more.

Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly grills hamburgers at the annual Community Cookout in Sanford, held Thursday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Amelia Hussey 6, attended  with her grandparents, John and Karen Merrifield. She carefully spread relish on a hot dog, and delivered it to her grandfather, who accepted it with a smile.

Ashley Sumiskaski was there with her four children and a friend, who brought her children. The two families spread a blanket on the ground and set about to enjoy the evening.

“It’s family-friendly,” said Sumislaski of the event.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected].

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