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Rock Island State Park turns 50
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Rock Island State Park turns 50 this year. Staff at the park is throwing a party to celebrate the special occasion and inviting the community to come out and enjoy. The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 31. Pictured is Rock Island State Park ranger Damon Graham. - photo by Lisa Hobbs
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The Rock Island sandbar will be the site for a celebration of the state park's 50th birthday Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Created in 1969, Rock Island State Park celebrates 50 years this month with a birthday party at the Sandbar Beach Pavilion on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m.

“We’ve been working on this party for months,” said Park manager Damon Graham. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. The beach has a great sunset and it’s a little cooler in the evening. We’ll have different nature-themed games and some recreational games.”

Free food and live music will also be available.

“Several park staff will be bringing their instruments,” said Graham. “If musicians want to bring their instruments, they’ll be welcome. It’ll be more like a jam session. I’m sure that will be a lot of fun.” 

Local band, the Mockingbirds, will also provide musical entertainment.

Being on the beach, attendees may also play kickball and volleyball.

Graham says the event will also serve as a celebration for the completed renovation of the sandbar and pavilion. 

“We had to renovate the sandbar and pavilion because of the historic flooding that we had in March. The bathhouse and everything was under water. It was probably about 20 feet of water. We just finished renovation. Staff worked diligently to get the area improved.”

Rock Island State Park, which is 883 acres, was founded in 1969 and has been the backdrop for outdoor entertainment and activities loved by locals and visitors alike. The park focuses on conservation of the landscape and waterfalls to give individuals a natural, healthy environment to enjoy. 

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with special programs starting at 7 p.m., and end at approximately 8:30 p.m. 

Although the event is free, the park staff asks for those interested in coming to register online at tnstateparks.com/parks/rock-island to allow the park staff to prepare for the expected number of those who will be in attendance.