Mercado Park in Perris went to the dinosaurs last Friday.
Smiling youngsters temporarily sported dinosaur tattoos on their cheeks. Moms and their kids put on faux dino paws and posed for pictures at a photo booth.
And a Dilophosaurus, a 23-foot long 900-pound carnivore distinctive for its pair of rounded crests on its skull, strolled through the hundreds of visitors gathered for the annual “End of Summer Splash,” the City’s goodbye to those last lazy hazy days of sun and fun.
The Sept. 15 event included a jumper for children, face painting, food vendors, games for the kids and a performance from the musical group Big Band 4U.
The evening concluded with the showing of the movie “Jurassic World,” the tale of a runaway genetically engineered dinosaur and the havoc it wreaks on the big screen.
“The End of Summer Splash is a great event that is always well attended and well-received,” said Recreation Coordinator Rachel Pinedo, who helped organize the festivities. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to enjoy fun family time and learn about our fall programs.”
Upcoming programs include Perris Got Talent that begins with auditions Sept. 23 as well as the Nov. 4 Veteran’s Day and Dec. 9 Christmas parades.
Debbie Andelin knows well the scope and variety of Perris community events.
She and her grandson, Aiden Molina, 7, attended Breakfast with Bunny earlier this year. She’s a regular at City parades and enjoys the Rods & Rails Festival every June. Her husband belongs to the Orange Empire Railway Museum, which features one of the largest collections of railroad engines, coaches, street cars and trolleys in the county.
“I love Perris and I’m proud to live here,” said Andelin, a retired university administrator. “I’ve lived in Orange County and Los Angeles, and Perris is the most hometown place of all. I feel like I belong here. I’m glad we settled here.”
Another grandma, Laura Rodriguez, said she looked forward to seeing “Jurassic World” on a big screen in Mercado Park. The family has seen all the previous “Jurassic” movies. Granddaughter Lilyanna, 2, took in the show too.
“This is going to be so much fun,” Rodriguez said prior to the start of the film. “Events in Perris are great. This City thinks of its residents. This City thinks its residents matter.”
Josh Newton attended End of Summer Splash with his wife, Natasha, and sons, Logan, and Adam, 2. The movie and festivities fitted Newton’s personality. He’s a big kid at heart who enjoys watching cartoons with his kids Saturday mornings.
“It’s great to be out here with the family at an event that brings the community together,” Newton said.
Newton applauded the movie choice.
“I grew up with the original `Jurassic Park!’” he said.
Zeina Mathla attended End of Summer Splash with her children, Sara, 8, Christina, 5, and Alexander, 2. It’s the first time the family attended the splash since moving to Perris from Syria two years ago.
Zeina Mathla said she was glad to call the City home.
“My kids are not bored, they are not crying, they are happy,” she said. “My kids are happy, I’m happy.”