What to do on a sunny winter day? Maybe an origami boat regatta?
We joined friends downtown at ONE City Plaza, the newly redesigned public space that houses a water feature running the length of the square. With large ‘steps’ on one side intended as seating (an ‘urban couch’ according to design firm Civitas) and landscaping on the other, the water is easily reachable and allows for safe exploration.
We spent a few minutes looking at videos of how to make origami boats while Vilis napped, and having crafted a few different styles out of a variety of materials (newsprint, printer paper, watercolor paper, aluminum foil, wax paper), we decorated our regatta with colorful designs and flags. After throwing a few plastic boats into the mix we headed to pick up Lauris from school and let him in on the plan.
The wind was strong, sinking more than one newsprint boat on its maiden voyage. The wax paper boat joined the underwater salvage yard. All safety precautions were taken to ensure the LEGO figurines would not come to harm. Luckily the plastic boats endured, as then Vilis had a boat to pilot.
We discovered the aluminum foil and watercolor paper boats to be the most successful, the former more so when weighted down with a few coins or rocks to counteract the wind. I had hoped the water would get soaked up into the watercolor paper and make a spectrum out of the colors we had drawn at the bottom with markers, but because of the wind it was just washed off. Paper airplanes joined the mix, as sleeves, shoes and knees got progressively wetter. Nevertheless, it was clear that the afternoon activity was a winner – good friends, running water and toys, what else do you need on a sunny afternoon?
The more experienced regatta moms came prepared with extra paper for the kids to experiment with their own designs, and paper clips & coins to add strategic weights and balance. I have a few more ideas I want to try on our next visit, and hopefully the wind will not be as strong and the temperatures warmer… Any regatta tips for me out there?
A little more on ONE City Plaza…
It was on the corner of Main and Washington that four young black men staged a sit-in at the Woolworth’s counter in 1960. The building is gone, but this block is still the heart of downtown Greenville. When revitalization was first initiated in the 1980’s, the space was called Piazza Bergamo (after Greenville’s sister city), and over the next 25 years it was a hub for outdoor concerts and events. Along with the new construction (which has attracted businesses such as Anthropologie, Brooks Brothers and the hotel Aloft), the piazza was also redesigned. Completed in 2013, the $5 million project is “themed from the history of the region as a place of weaving. Layers and folds of patterns, a long fountain and urban couch form that spine that attracts people to engage and relax.” (source here) I'm happy that the Mice on Main statue remains a resident, but look forward to seeing the trees planted to give the space some shade from the summer sun!