The Sounds are Back as Benson Park Comes to Life

June 5, 2015

by Laurie Jasper

Benson Park celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 4 p.m.  The Friends of Benson Park, Inc. organized the family-friendly event with games, music, raffles, food and fun.

Most of the participants were set up in the area around the elephant barn in which the Friends of Benson Park plan to one day create a museum of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm memorabilia.  Various volunteer booths included the Girl Scouts and friends expertly face painting; Rodgers Memorial Library Children’s Room staff helping children craft a bookmark and giving away balloon animals and balloon hat sculptures; Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt from Nashua busily scooping out free samples they were making on the spot with instant freeze liquid nitrogen; and Canobie Lake Park offering chances to win tickets and prizes.  The Friends of Benson Park also sponsored a treasure hunt around the park and had many great raffle prizes donated for the event.  Toys R Us’ Geoffrey Giraffe made an appearance, to the delight of many.  Benson’s Bakery donated a delicious Benson Park-themed cake for the anniversary party.

How many can say they performed in an animal cage at Benson Park?  After Saturday, the list is a bit longer, as musical groups entertained the crowds from inside the cage adjacent to the elephant barn.  Hills Garrison music teacher Sarah Seckla and her fourth grade chorus and recorder group charmed the crowd with their music, as did others including the Ottarnic Dulcimer Club and the group Seat Belts Required.

“I love the playground here, my favorite is the spider web, and I ride my bike, too,” said Benjamin Pinnell, 7, while watching his older sister, Olivia, perform.

“We love walking the trails and meeting friends here for a fun afternoon,” shared Benjamin’s mom, Elizabeth Pinnell.

A stroll down “Memory Lane” to the Overlook gave guests a chance to chat with volunteer Cindy Provencher and hear her stories about the park’s history.  Cindy’s uncle, the late Arthur Provencher, was the third and final owner of the park, and Cindy worked at Benson’s Wild Animal Farm for many years.  “I sit here and the voices are back, the sounds are back.  It’s alive again.  You’re getting both memories now; you’re bringing generations together.  I’m ecstatic to see the life back into this place.  It is very rewarding,” Cindy said.

Ruth Servant of Hudson was with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and has many memories of the former Benson’s, but is also making new memories at the park.  “The people who have dedicated themselves to making this place so beautiful, it is just amazing,” she said.

Hudson Selectman Patricia Nichols, a long-time Benson Park committee member and volunteer, was busy handing out free bags of popcorn.  “This is my favorite place in the whole world.  My heart is here.  I love to see all of these people enjoying this place,” Patricia said.

Children shrieking with laughter (and yes, even some tired tears), music filling the air, events being introduced via bullhorn, even the loud pop of an occasional balloon burst all combined with the hustle and bustle of people talking and enjoying a sunny, warm Saturday at Benson Park.  The sounds are back.

For more information about the Friends of Benson Park, please visit www.friendsofbensonpark.org.