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Albion site offers free bowling for kids this summer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Randy Hanks and his son Robbie are pictured inside Oak Orchard Bowl, which has 18 lanes on Route 98 in Albion. The bowling alley is one of about 1,100 offering free bowling for children this summer.

ALBION – The Oak Orchard Bowl is offering free bowling games this summer to children 18 and under, an effort to introduce more young people to sport of bowling and also give them a chance for family-friendly activities without busting the pocketbook.

Oak Orchard Bowl is offering the free bowling for children on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. Kids and their parents need to sign up to be part of the program. Click here to be directed to Kids Bowl Free.

There are about 1,100 bowling centers in the program nationally. The Albion bowling alley is the only only between Rochester and Lockport in the program.

“This is to get the kids interested in bowling and family time,” said Randy Hanks, co-owner of Oak Orchard Bowl with his wife, Renee. “It’s good exercise and it gets the kids out of the house and away from the video games.”

There is a $2 charge for bowling shoes, but the $3 per game fee is waived for children on the three afternoons. There is a maximum of 2 games per child on each free bowling day.

Hanks said about 250 kids are signed up. He welcomes more to join the program, which runs until Aug. 28.

Randy Hanks and his family have steadily upgraded the bowling alley in Albion. He is pictured with some new shoes that arrived today.

Hanks and his wife 10 years ago purchased the bowling center at 3291 Oak Orchard Rd. They have steadily made improvements in the building, putting on a new roof for $60,000, adding auto-scoring, resurfacing lanes, and upgrading pin setters and masking units.

They also have been buying about 20 new pairs of bowling shoes a year and swapping out older pairs. The newest pairs have Velcro, which are easier to put on and have adjustable widths for the shoes.

Oak Orchard has grown its league bowlers from about 150 a decade ago to 400 now. There are about 40 children in the junior leagues, and Hanks would like to include more children in that program.

That is partly why he embraced the Kids Bowl Free program, hoping to draw more children to the lanes, which could lead to their families picking the spot for birthday parties and open bowling.

The Kids Bowl Free program also has an option for a family bowling pass for the summer at $26.95. That pass includes bowling for adults.

For more information on Oak Orchard Bowl, click here.