North Park was abuzz with children’s activities last week. Volunteers with four Van Alstyne groups got together to offer Popsicles in the Park. The activities only lasted an hour, the many children there spent every minute of it having a grand ol’ time.

In addition to the free popsicles, there was a maze of a bounce house which just about every child there made good use of at least twice. There were bubbles blown from an automatic bubble machine, and the younger ones chased those bubbles for until there were no more to upon catching them. And, to cap it off, the organizers brought in a balloon artist to make animals, caps and just about anything else from balloons.

It was the Parks & Recreation Board, specifically its board member Maria Hickson-Grimmett, who introduced the idea, and Economic Development Corporation, Community Development Corporation and Van Alstyne Sports Authority who joined in with P&R to make it happen.

Hickson-Grimmett said she saw the idea on social media, that a few other towns nearby were hosting similar events. “Sherman, Prosper, Denison had some similar projects going on the for community. I thought it was such a great idea, expensive and easy for the community to get to know each other and our groups. We picked North Park (out of the city’s four public parks) because it is a diamond in the rough.”

VASA’s new president, Valerie Whitehill, said that VVASA is working to become “more involved in the community. We were at the (Parks & Recreation) July meeting where it was discussed and everyone there that it was perfect. We plan to do this on a yearly basis.”

VASA is eager to reach more kids, too, Whitehill said. They plan to provide more information through City Hall, and information is also available Online at and on Facebook where, she said, they reach most of those who get involved.

Seven-year-old Mason said he got a purple (grape-flavored) popsicle and it was great. He liked the bounce house best, he said. Mason, who said he goes to the new elementary school, said he hasn’t yet started playing sports. He added that he’s already ready for this event to go on next year.

Addison, age 10, goes to Sanford Elementary School. She took part in all the activities, she said, except, at that point, hadn’t yet gotten a balloon animal. If the event goes on next year, she said, she plans to bring extra friends with her.

Harper, age 3 and from Howe but with family in Van Alstyne, said she had played on the bounce house bet, that she had had a purple popsicle and had received a French Poodle balloon. When asked what what was her favorite thing to do, the youngster took it quite literally and answered, “I like to go to the doughnut place with my mom and dad.”