Kids Fest moved to different location for 21st annual event


In its 21st year, Kids Fest is changing venues.

Because of a scheduling conflict, the annual event will be at Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, more than 50 booths and activities will be set up in the two gymnasiums and cafeteria, and one feature will be outside in the parking lot.

Kate Garrity, executive director of Child Care Network, said the event had to be moved because an archery tournament and a choral festival will be going on at the high school.

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“The middle school was excited to have us, so it has been good,” Garrity said. “It has made us really think through everything that we do. It has been good for me to just think about every little detail. We’re the only event at the middle school, so they are allowing us to spread out, and we’re going to use both gyms.”

Attendees can still expect the same staples of the event, including a petting zoo, a bicycle rodeo, games and other activities.

The bicycle rodeo, conducted by the Seymour Police Department, will be in the area of the cafeteria. The Pardieck Law Firm once again will present free helmets to children.

Touch a Truck was a new addition last year, and Garrity said it will be back Saturday. Set up in the parking lot behind the school will be more than 15 vehicles, including police cars, firetrucks, dump trucks, a bucket truck and a street sweeper.

Garrity was a part of a 2017 Leadership Jackson County project team with Rachel Hoevener, Greg Morin, Bonita Dobbs and Conner Barnette that reached out to local agencies to bring their vehicles to the event so children could learn more about them and see how they work.

Dobbs and Hoevener are on the Kids Fest committee and wanted to see their project continue.

“They are taking that piece to make sure that it can be a part of the event each year,” Garrity said. “Now that we have one under our belt, we kind of know what we need to do.”

This year’s Leadership Jackson County youth project team — Linda Morris, Rachel Nay, Drew Royalty, Ben Stellwagen and Tyler Thias — also will be there manning stations that deliver health and fitness awareness. That will include activities where children and their parents can participate and earn prizes.

Garrity said it’s great to have Leadership Jackson County involved since a project team created Kids Fest 21 years ago.

Another popular feature returning this year is Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus education department’s dome theater that children go in and lie down to watch a movie.

Also, Jackson County 4-H will have a makerspace set up where children can experiment with a three-dimensional printer.

The day before Kids Fest, Seymour Middle School students will be planting 300 pinwheels in front of the school in recognition of April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Garrity helps oversee the Caring 4 Kids Council that has planted the pinwheels at county schools and at Tipton and O’Brien streets in Seymour.

Anyone interested in setting up a booth at Kids Fest has until Friday to make reservations with Garrity. Booth rental is free.

There also is no admission charge to the event thanks to the generosity of several local sponsors. The Seymour Noon Lions Club co-sponsors the event with Child Care Network.

Children are encouraged to register for the grand prize drawing, which once again is a summer pass to Shields Park Pool.

This year’s theme for Kids Fest is “I’m not lion…it’s Kids Fest.” Each year, seventh-graders involved in Leadership Jackson County’s youth program, YoJack, choose the theme.

Students around the county also are invited to come up with a design for the Kids Fest T-shirts based on each year’s theme. Garrity said the winner will be announced Thursday.

This is Garrity’s third time helping organize Kids Fest, which typically draws around 1,500 people.

“The thing that has struck me the most about Jackson County is just how everybody comes together to put this on,” she said. “It literally just happens, so the change in venue this year has helped me figure out how some of those things happen. It’s really neat to work with people that you don’t always get to interact with daily to just put this on.”

People look forward to Kids Fest every year, and Garrity said it’s a lot of fun to be a part of it.

“Having four kids myself, it’s so expensive to take them places. It just adds up,” she said. “It’s really nice when you can go and just take that pressure off as a parent. They can have fun and experience all of these things and not have that pressure to buy things and spend money.”

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What: 21st annual Kids Fest, sponsored by Child Care Network and Seymour Noon Lions Club

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., Seymour

Features: Games, activities, bicycle rodeo, petting zoo, Touch a Truck, health and fitness stations and more

Cost: Free

Information: 812-524-2585 or search for Kids Fest on Facebook


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