SEMINOLE — Dr. Stephen Nickse recalls his first time volunteering with the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce’s Kids Appreciation Day. He was a teenager and it was 1984.
The event was still in its infancy, he said, started by Eve Jones and Jimmy Johnson to “promote summer integrity.” The first one was held in 1979 and quickly established itself as the premiere end-of-the-school-year bash for local elementary aged children.
Decades later, Nickse is the chair of the event — a role he’s held for the past 15 years — and Kids Appreciation Day is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
“Forty years. That’s a big deal. That’s pretty cool,” he said.
This year’s free event will take place Wednesday, May 29, 3 to 5:30 p.m., at Seminole City Park, 7464 Ridge Road. The event coincides with the last day of school for all students attending Pinellas County Schools. Students attending Seminole-area schools and their families are invited to the festivities.
To honor the event’s roots, Jones, still an active member of the Seminole community, is helping to organize this year’s Kids Appreciation Day.
“She’ll be helping out this year, which we’re excited about,” Nickse said.
As usual, the celebration includes free food, drinks, games, contests, entertainment, bike and gift giveaways, and more.
Local civic organizations step up by donating their time or money for the event, he added. The Rotary Club of Seminole will host its annual watermelon-eating contest. Meanwhile, the Kiwanis Club of Seminole members will grill hot dogs for kids, as they’ve done for years.
“We couldn’t do this without our civic clubs,” Nickse said.
This is also true of local businesses, he added. The chamber relies on donations, either of bikes and other gifts, or cash, to pay for the event and also the prizes given away throughout the afternoon.
“The generosity of the businesses of Seminole is so important to this event,” he said.
Businesses interested in contributing to this year’s Kids Appreciation Day can contact the chamber at 727-392-3245.