Kids, parents all sure to enjoy Family Night Out

Auburn activities to take over Downtown Saturday evening
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Those planning the ninth-annual Auburn Family Night Out have high hopes for Saturday evening. “What we see is young families coming out,” Linda Robinson, event coordinator, said Wednesday. “They can push the strollers. The kids can walk. It’s free, and there’s lots to do. It’s safe and it’s hassle free. It’s one of those events that young families appreciate.” Linda Robinson said Thursday that festivities will go on, and that wildfire smoke clogging the Auburn air is expected to dissipate somewhat in time for the weekend. Unlike the strenuous Western States Endurance Run, scheduled to start Saturday morning but canceled Wednesday due to fire damage and poor air quality, Robinson said Family Night Out is a leisurely event, enough so that coordinators decided to move forward with plans for Saturday evening. Auburn Family Night Out, started as a unifying event involving Auburn’s two historic districts, aims to offer families an evening of free, safe and entertaining activities. Some 15 locations between the Auburn Historic Courthouse and Downtown Auburn will provide everything from pony rides and a petting zoo, face painting, games, live performances and more from 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Families are encouraged to pick up a lemon-yellow passport and start visiting the venue locations, Robinson said. Family Night Out features seven passport-stamping locations — the Chocolate Shoppe, the Union Bank parking lot, Wells Fargo, Auburn City Hall, Chapel of the Hills, Pioneer Methodist Church and the Auburn Courthouse. Fully stamped passports turned in by the end of the event are entered into a drawing for baskets and prizes—this drawing occurs at 9:15 p.m. at the courthouse. “The passport actually drives the event,” she said. “The four hours gives everybody plenty of time to enjoy the whole event and get their passports stamped and get back to the courthouse.” Of course, Auburn Family Night Out isn’t just about getting stamps on a passport. It’s about fun, and shared experiences, Robinson said. One returning favorite is the Chalk-A-Lot! contest, held at the Union Bank parking lot. “We’ve actually watched kids grow up through the chalk art,” Robinson said. “You just hope along the way they remember this part of their lives.” Chalk-A-Lot! check-in is at 5:15 p.m., judging by the Sugar Plump Fairies starts at 6:15 p.m., and trophies will be handed out at 6:30 p.m. Chalk-A-Lot! is followed by a new to Auburn Family Night Out feature — a costume contest in which the garments are constructed out of recyclable materials like bottles, cans and paper. As with Chalk-a-Lot! registration and entries are free for the fashion show, which starts around 7 p.m. at the Union Bank parking lot. Children are encouraged to register, in costume, at 6:45 p.m. “Everybody’s talking about green and the things we can do to be green and help the planet, so I thought this was a good time to introduce something new and keep it fresh,” Robinson said. Entertaining the ears during these two Union Bank-based events will be D.A.Y.S., performing live music from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The small Union Bank parking lot will be home to the ever-popular Auburn Reptile Company and newcomer McCool Puppets, Robinson said. Another area packed with activities is the public parking lot at East Placer and High streets, where the 49er Lions will set up a bounce house and First Baptist Church offers games. The clock tower at Lincoln Way and High Street will be rocking with live entertainment all evening, starting with the Summer Theater Academy’s performing numbers from its upcoming “Seussical” show from 5:30-6 p.m. Other performers include Come Dance With Me, My Little Bit of Country Music, the Thunderfoot Cloggers, Rocky Kajimura and Juan to Dance. Just down the street, at the Wells Fargo parking lot, families will find pony rides and a petting zoo. This year’s Auburn Family Night Out beneficiary is the Auburn Recreation District Friends of Auburn, benefiting youth assistance programs. “We probably get an application a day from a family needing some financial aid so their kids can swim on the swim team, take dance classes,” said Sheryl Peterson, Auburn Recreation District recreation services manager. “These parents are so grateful that their kids have these experiences.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at