Here comes summer!

Coach Grant Herges offers tips to a young batter in the Parks Department’s summer baseball program, which launched a new season last week at Southside Regional Park. It was right on schedule this spring; the 2020 season was sharply curtailed due to Covid-19. (Photo/Russ Hanson.)

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

When youngsters poured onto the fields at Southside Regional Park last week, they brought more than baseball bats, soccer balls and lacrosse gear. They brought a joyous sense that, unlike the past year, summer is really back in 2021.

Gov. Tim Walz’s easing of Covid-era precautions Friday brought big smiles – visible, unmasked smiles – to the offices of the Moorhead Parks and Recreation Department. Staffers had spent the previous month developing work-arounds for remaining capacity limits and other issues as the pandemic lessened its grip on Minnesota. Those plans mostly evaporated with his announcement.

So summer fun is back, full steam ahead.

“Last week, our pool was going to have to figure out how to operate at 50% capacity. Now, that’s not a problem,” director Holly Heitkamp says with a happy smile. “We don’t have to require face masks indoors or out. Our special events like River Arts, the Farmers Market, the Doggy Dip and Greater Moorhead Days will all move forward without a hitch.”

Kids’ Baseball: Big Bopper (5-year-olds), T-Ball (grade 1), Rookie (grades 2-3) and Pop Up (grades 4-5) all began last week, offering no-pitch and coach-pitch training and play.

River Arts: The first session of Moorhead’s top summer event, River Arts, is scheduled Tuesday, June 8. The Viking Ship Park happening features attractions for the whole family, headlined by the Lars and Joe Pony Show and a petting zoo. As always, there will be kid-friendly art activities, inflatable games and free carriage rides. Other features include musician Rick Adams and barrel car rides June 22; Nick Klein and a fishing clinic July 26; and the Front Fenders and Nature of the North August 10.

Swimming Pools: On Monday, Holly says, she got word that all open positions have been filled, so the Wading pools open June 5 and the Municipal Pool June 9, all at full capacity … and with full staffs. At first, applications had been coming in slowly for the 30 staff positions at the big pool and 18 at neighborhood facilities. “Let’s just say I was very, very excited to hear we were at full strength,” Holly says.

The department had been taking names for waiting lists for swimming lessons and other park activities. “We’ve been making calls all week to let them know lessons are on again,” she reports. “The parents, especially, are just ecstatic.” Sessions begin June 21, July 12 and July 26.

Art Programs: Three two-week sessions of ArtCamps are planned at Alm Park. Offered on Monday through Thursday, the 60- or 90-minute morning sessions introduce kids to drawing, painting, sculpture and collage. Registration is required a week before each begins; start dates are June 21, July 12 and July 26.

Canoe and Kayak Rentals: Watercraft will be available for rent at Viking Ship Park starting June 1.

Children’s Golf Lessons: Li’l Linkers lessons for 4- to 6-year-olds begins June 8 at The Meadows. Junior golf lessons for youth from 7 to 17 start June 7 at Village Green and June 8 at The Meadows. All sessions continue for six weeks.

For more information and to register for all of the Parks Department’s summer classes and events, go to

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