Symphony of fun


The Seymour High School gym was filled with the sounds of children Saturday as the 19th annual Kids Fest drew an estimated crowd of 1,400 people.

The event is the collaborative effort of Child Care Network and 45 other organizations, agencies and programs.

Kate Garrity, executive director of Child Care Network, said the event is less the effort of her organization and more the culmination of many different groups.

“I didn’t plan this event. They all planned it,” Garrity said, motioning to the booths inside the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium. “I am less an organizer and more the conductor.”

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Kids Fest is an event focused on providing resources and information to adults while providing games, prizes and new experiences for children.

It gathers together resources available to parents in one location and provides children with activities focused on celebrating childhood while involving both children and parents in the community.

“We just want to make sure families have a free event and make sure people know what is available in our great community,” Garrity said.

Ginger Bruce took her granddaughters to the event. She said it was a good experience for all of them.

“There’s so much information and resources available,” she said.

Another parent, Elizabeth Reed, watched as one of her two children chased around Icie, the mascot of the Jackson County Education Coalition. Reed said the community feel of the event is what she enjoyed most.

“I think everyone’s just really friendly, and the children seem to really enjoy it,” she said.

One of the primary activities of the event, the bike rodeo, was slightly different this year. The Pardieck Law Firm provided 100 helmets to the first children to go through; however, this year, children had to attend a bike safety class, then the rodeo to receive their helmet.

In previous years, children could receive the helmets simply by taking the riding portion.

“They learn about signs and hand signs, then they come out here and do the bike course with the Seymour Police Department,” said Priscilla Wischmeier, a paralegal with The Pardieck Law Firm.

The course was taught by Jackson County 4-H members with the help of B2 Bikes and Boards in Seymour.

“It’s a joint effort with 4-H, the police, B2 Bikes and Boards and us. We each have our roles in it, and we fit well together,” Wischmeier said.

Ivy Tech’s early childhood development program provided pedal and walking tricycles for children who were too small to experience the bike rodeo but still wanted a helmet.

The bike and tricycle rodeos challenged riders to travel inside a marked path through an obstacle course, obeying public street signs.

“The reward for going through the class and riding through the course is they get a pretty nice helmet,” Wischmeier said.

Inside the school’s gymnasium, the center was used for demonstrations from various groups.

Sean Hildreth with Jackson County United Way brought traditional hand drums for a drum demonstration.

Girls Inc. of Jackson County’s gymnastics program followed Hildreth with a gymnastics routine.

After that, Seymour Area Youth Football League taught basics of several football movements to interested children.

The demonstrations finished with a Mexican folkloric dancing demonstration.

Outside the gym, music and inflatable bouncing activities were available for children to enjoy.

Farm animals also were present in a petting zoo, letting children touch, pet and see animals they might not otherwise see in their daily lives.

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