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Teens end summer vacation with chem-free paint party
Some 120 teens enjoyed an end-of-summer chem-free paint party held by River Valley Recreation last Friday evening in the Mexico Recreation Park. (Times photos by Bruce Farrin)
MEXICO -- Most of the 120 teenagers attending Friday night's chem-free event at the Mexico Recreation Park did so wearing white t-shirts.
They didn't stay white for very long as they were sprayed with various water color paints while they danced on the blacklight stage with balloons to various tunes played by DJ Bustin' Justin.
At first, the youngsters danced with their backs to the sprayed paint, but eventually they got into it and welcomed the colors on their fronts and faces.
It was the first annual paint party where several volunteers worked their tails off to provide teens with three hours of fun, with popcorn, drinks and several giveaways for the $10 entry fee.
Volunteer Tammy Schmersal Burgess said this was a lot of work. "Many parents drop their kids off, but some stay to help. This is an event where teens can have fun, but also with adult supervision, all for just $10."
They were a well-behaved group of teens, which was probably due in part to having a great time.
Amanda Hamner, who recently joined the Mexico Recreation Board, said that she came up with the idea after her babysitter told her about chem-free paint parties that were held in Augusta.
“There were all sorts of chem-free dances for kids where they would have a certain theme,” Hamner said. “There were foam parties, black-light parties and paint parties, but they would cost $20 or $25 to get in. I thought, 'Let's try to do this local so our kids can enjoy it.' Right now, a lot of people are excited about it, especially the middle school kids in the area."
“We just wanted to bring some fun to the kids, where they can get wet, get messy and have a good time,” said Hamner.
River Valley Rec earlier held an evening movie event "under the stars" in the Rec Park. Volunteer Crystal McAtee said there will be another movie event upcoming, but now with evening temperatures getting cooler, it will take place in the Mexico Recreation Center.