On an average day, parents may not exactly approve of their kids wallowing in giant pools of mud. But today at Nankin Mills Park, it's not only allowed, it's encouraged.
Wayne County Parks & Recreation hosted its 30th annual Mud Day today in Westland. There, a large swath of land was transformed into a 22,500 cubic foot pool of mud and muck. Thousands of kids and adults spent the day frolicking, playing games, and enjoying the summer heat — all in a gigantic mud pit.
Both the number of attendees and activities have grown over the years, organizers said.
Katrina Jones, 47 and her son Tyler, drove from Belleville to participate for the first time.
“I like the community of it. It’s building relationships with other cities. Everybody’s coming together from all over Wayne County,” said Jones.
“I thought it’s a boy’s dream come true,” said Amy Vertes, who traveled from Florida with her son, Nathan, back to their home state, to celebrate his 11th birthday. “Michigan always does great things for the kids.”
Fay Lene of Westland brought her son Samuel, 5, and daughter Abigail, 6, to Mud Day for the second year in a row. When she first found out about the event, she was stunned. “It blew my mind, it’s so much fun.”
She plans on making Mud Day a family tradition. “It’s gonna be a yearly event for us. We dig it — literally.”
Lene said that the event doesn’t just appeal to her kids, but to her as well.
“It’s a day where adults get to be kids, kids get to be kids, and everybody gets to have fun.”
Tyler Jones, 12, didn’t even consider the mud the best part of the event.
“I think it’s good that the fire department is involved instead of them just using a hose,” he said.
Beverly Watts, director of Wayne County Public Services has been involved with Mud Day for over 10 years and has witnessed the growth of this celebration.
“Mud Day is a day that is for family,” said Watts, “It is that day when you kind of can throw all of the rules out. You know how we grow up and your parents always say don’t get dirty, but today is the complete opposite. We are encouraging you to get dirty and we are encouraging the moms and dads to get dirty too.”
Mud Day activities featured not only a mud play free-for-all, but also organized activities such as human wheelbarrow races and limbo.
“We have added music to the event, we didn’t always have a nice musicologist. We also added different age groups and soccer in the mud,” said Watts.
Mud Day culminated with the coronation of the Mud King, Brian Wilson, 10, of Redford, and Mud Queen, MacKenna Kofahl, 12, of Milan.
This was Queen MacKenna's fifth year attending the event and said she was surprised to be crowned queen.
“I’ve always wanted to try but I have never did it. I feel really happy,” said MacKenna said.
Mud King Brian attended the event with his grandmother for the first time this year.
“I got a few tips from a worker here.” said Brian. “I went around getting covered in mud and grass.”
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