Sunday, June 18, 2006


One of Columbus's biggest outdoor events of the year was held Saturday - the annual "Family Day in the Park." But trouble developed nearby after the event, leaving some people to wonder if this is turning into Freaknik South.

Columbus Police were called to Peachtree Mall Saturday night, because some people who went to Family Day in the Park supposedly got into a fight in the food court. But how do we know they went to Family Day? Were they noticeably sunburned?

Stores throughout Peachtree Mall were closed on advice of police, apparently to make sure the food court trouble didn't spread. The last thing we need is brawlers rushing into Macy's, and knocking down those top-dollar bottles of perfume.

Perhaps other stores were concerned about the Family Day in the Park crowd as well. We drove down Milgen Road Saturday afternoon, and found Shooters gun shop was closed for the day -- so if you forgot to pack a bottle opener, you were on your own.

Shooters even roped off the front of its store, so no one could park there. I assume this is in reaction to the robbers who rammed the front of the store several months ago -- because civil rights groups probably already are watching this place closely, simply because it sells guns.

McMurry Furniture down the street appeared open - but someone sat near the front door, apparently making sure the only people parking there were customers. Hauling a newly-purchased lounge chair to Cooper Creek Park certainly would have gained other people's attention....

A few stores near the entrance to Cooper Creek Park were open for parking Saturday -- but they charged ten dollars a car. Truly, the price of a free event is not always free....

With parking truly at a premium, some people left their cars along the side of Milgen Road and walk to Family Day in the Park. The line of cars stretched nearly to the main Post Office - and it had to feel strange for the staff there, to see all the cars pointing away from it for a change.

Inside Cooper Creek Park, the star act at Family Day in the Park was the Oscar-winning hip-hop group "Three Six Mafia." This should not be confused with the people who present "Street TV" Saturday nights on WLGA. I think that's the 6-6 Mafia.

You may recall the Three Six Mafia won an Academy Award for the song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." On this Saturday, it was actually quite easy. Walk up to a single guy inside the park, or a car stuck in traffic on Milgen Road....

Davis Broadcasting estimated about 15,000 people attend Family Day in the Park. As the Ledger-Enquirer's front-page headline predicted Friday, it was a "massive throng" - although I'd doubt anyone attending the event would ever say that phrase, unless they worked FOR a newspaper.

(It may have been a massive throng - but how many men there really wanted to see a mini-thong?)

Davis Broadcasting tried to control the traffic at Family Day in the Park years ago, by having people park at Columbus Square Mall and ride shuttle buses. While the mall is gone, there's still a wide-open parking lot at the old Columbus Square 6 theaters. Why, they could actually have had the "movie under the stars" there Saturday night -- or even inside, where it's air-conditioned.

To be fair: the Peachtree Mall incident is the first time I've heard of any trouble like this associated with Family Day in the Park. The free event in Cooper Creek Park usually is crowded, but intended to be fun. Maybe if the mall's food court charged what the parking lots near the entrance charged, fewer customers would have meant a safer evening.

So the next time you drive down Milgen Road and wonder why "no parking" signs are all along the roadway, remember this weekend. I doubt they drew that large a crowd for the senior tennis tournament a few days ago....

E-MAIL UPDATE: There are plenty of items in our InBox these days, and we'll only get to a few of them today. Here's the main event:




I think this is the first time I've made a blog reader cry -- which I guess is better than making political campaigns angry.

The color changes on the blog have been there since day one, in January 2003. When someone challenged them in November 2004, we put the issue to a reader vote -- and 70 percent liked the style as it was. After all, sooner or later you see the official colors of about every uniform the Columbus Cottonmouths have ever worn.

But since this reader has brought up the issue again, we will do the same. THE BIG BLOG QUESTION asks you if we should stop the rotating colors, and go to one set style. Remember one thing, though -- changing hair colors helped make Judge Bobby Peters the popular elected official he is today.

We have time for one more e-mail -- a response to the WRBL job hunter we mentioned last week:

Hey Richard,

Thanks for the plug on your blog! was actually a very valuable tool in a time when I was looking for a new opportunity. But, will soon be changing its format because I have accepted a new position.

I will remain here at WRBL, but I will now be working as the Site Coordinator for Look for some exciting changes in the future!

Thanks again for the plug!

Chris Sweigart

The "site" Chris means is the WRBL web site - so if he copies from our blog and changes it to a rainbow of colors, maybe that "dude" who wrote us first will have to buy some eye drops.

Please note he did NOT reveal the new format of . He already has a blog, which recently restarted after a lengthy break -- so maybe he'll be selling DVD's of his "Running With the Bulls" series.

A different sort of running starts our wrap-up of Father's Day weekend news:

+ Our Saturday night jog on the Riverwalk topped three miles again - but the BIG news was that the stairway from Golden Park to the Riverwalk was lit, for the first time in more than a year. Which fired Parks Department employee should we write, to thank for this?

+ The downtown CB&T bank was evacuated, along with nearby businesses on Broadway. A suspicious toolbox was found outside the building - but a close check found it was indeed a toolbox full of tools. Construction workers on Front Avenue should drive to lunch, from now on....

+ A memorial was dedicated outside the Russell County Courthouse to Albert Patterson, the Attorney General candidate who traveled to Phenix City during the 1954 election attempting to rid the town of vice. In 2006, not even Roy Moore came to Phenix City attempting that.

+ Georgia lost to Rice 6-4 in its first game of the College World Series. I can relate to this - because I face some sticky rice from time to time when I cook dinner.

+ Instant Message to Summerville Baptist Church in Phenix City: Your Vacation Bible School theme should be ARCTIC Edge - with two C's. At least, that's how other Baptist churches spell it on their signs. Maybe your school should have some remedial spelling first?!

COMING THIS WEEK: Not one, but THREE blog exclusives are brewing from e-mail tips.... including one dating back four years....

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