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ERIC POOLE | Herald

Eric Riley, a volunteer with Revamp the Amp, works on electricity of the Graul Amphitheater ahead of the “Riverside Family Campout.”

GREENVILLE — As a child, Fred Kiser remembers people filling Riverside Park for events every summer.

One tradition, called “Dollar Days,” drew people into the park for music and dancing, and into town for shopping and dining.

This weekend, Kiser hopes the good old days will return with the “Riverside Family Campout” to Riverside Park, with a variety of activities sponsored by local organizations, Kiser said.

The event is a cooperative effort of local groups and Casey and Janet Shilling of Carried Away Outfitters, a Greenville-based business that offers bicycling and boating rentals. 

“I was speaking to Casey and Janet Shilling and said, “Hey, let’s do a camping weekend,”” Kiser said.

The campout will be held today, Saturday and Sunday. Kiser, a member of the Heritage Day Committee and a past president of the Mercer County Trails Association, said he expects there will be “something for everyone,” regardless of age or outdoor familiarity.

“I think the best part will be the variety. You’d be hard pressed to not find something that makes you go, “That looks kind of fun,’” Kiser said.

The activities will range from a cornhole tournament, hosted by the Greenville Senior Community Center, to a scavenger hunt organized by the Riverside Revitalization Fund.

There will be opportunities for new experiences, including an evening “Disc Golf Glow Throw,” sponsored by the Trumbull County Disc Golf Association, or the archery shoot and hatchet throw, organized by the Harthegig Conservation Club.

“If you’ve never shot a bow, they’ll set you up with everything you need,” Kiser said.

Some events, such as a $15 camping price or a $5-per-team entry fee for the cornhole tournament, require a cost. But most events, including the fishing contest or archery shoot and hatchet throw, are free for participants.

Other entertainment will include a bonfire courtesy of the Greenville Fire Department, a backwoods bluegrass music show, and an obstacle course.

Shenango River Watchers will hold a “Paddlefest” early Saturday morning. Participants will take their boats to Pymatuning State Park, return to Riverside Park and drop off their vehicles, then be shuttled back to Pymatuning to float down the river.

For the River Watchers, “Paddlefest” will provide more than just recreation. Kiser said they’ll be able to show off their work getting garbage out from along the river banks.

“The River Watchers were instrumental in clearing up that river,” he said. “I forget how many pounds of tires, branches, trees and even stoves they pulled out of the river, but now it’s not uncommon to see boats go by.”

Participants will also enjoy events at the Graul Amphitheater, kicking off a series of planned summer activities with a movie Friday evening, Kiser said.

Kiser said he was “blessed” as a child to have spent time at Pymatuning State Park with his family camping, boating and fishing. For those who decide to attend the Riverside Family Campout, Kiser said he hopes a new generation can discover the same joy of doing things outdoors.

“Anytime we have a chance to get away from our phones and computers and tablets and do something outside is, I think, a good thing, and it’s amazing how those things get passed on,” he said.

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