Fall festival offers Cape kids a day of fun and learning
The 12th annual Fall Kids Festival was a huge success on Saturday attracting families and children of all ages to Jaycee park to enjoy the entertainment and information-packed afternoon.
The Harney Point Kiwanis Club and Cape Coral Parks and Recreation hosted the festival in “providing experiences that nurture the health and well-being of our children.”
According to the program, the festival began in 1998 “to provide the children and young families with information about all of the available services that would enhance their quality of life.”
The festival is the largest children’s event that offers entertainment, education, crafts and activities for children who are newborn to 18 years old at Jaycee Park.
“The Fall Kids Festival is dedicated to not only amuse, but also communicate positive messages with non-stop fun and excitement,” stated the program.
Susan Barrier of the Fort Myers Edison Kiwanis Club stood at the entrance of the festival behind a table encouraging families to participate in a free raffle, along with handing out a program that outlined what time performances were held and what booths were present during the event.
She said it was her fourth or fifth year of volunteering her time for the kids festival.
“This is the best fall festival I have seen for kids,” Barrier said. “The Cape really excels at this type of program.”
The kids are happy and everyone who is volunteering their time or has a booth during the event are all interested in the children’s well-being, she explained.
The big top activity tent and stage shows, which were set up during the event, had various things scheduled throughout the festival for the families and children to stop and enjoy while drinking fresh lemonade or enjoying a meal from the various food vendors.
Such activities included a costume and hula hoop contest, Kids of the Kingdom, a Ronald McDonald Safety Show and a fire department puppet show.
Other stage shows included performances by Southern Starz Gymnastics, Topical Twisters, Robin Dawn Dance Academy, Dance Dimensions, Decatur Dance, Nabbie’s Productions, Marantha Dance Studio, Street Defense and Starz.
Toward the back of the park a long line of eager children waited patiently for
their turn to ride a pony, which was organized with volunteers walking the pony around in a circle.
Face painting, sand art, a giant inflatable slide and a ball toss into a fish bowl to win a fish were other activities in which the children could participate.
The fire department also highlighted the festival by giving away plastic red fireman hats to the children. The firefighters were also helping children climb into the engine, so they could have a seat in the back of the cab.
The Lee County, Cape Coral Chapter of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) had a booth set up near the firefighters.
Linda Prince, a volunteer of CERT, said they wanted to attend the festival to educate the parents and have them prepared for any emergency situations.
According to the CERT brochure, “CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family and your neighbors before and after a disaster.”
A little after noon, Prince said they already handed out all of their candy and quite a few people had signed up for a class they are offering to teach individuals about safety.
The CERT class is offered through the Cape Coral Fire Department for eight weeks, free of charge for city employees and residents. Firefighters and paramedics instruct the class, which addresses basic training in fire suppression, search and rescue, first-aid, CPR/AED, hazardous materials, generator and electrical safety.
“I am very proud to be apart of the CERT organization,” Prince said.
Police officers and their police dogs were making their way around the grounds, while occasionally stopping to visit with the children. The Cape Coral Police Department also had a booth set up for fingerprinting between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Kiwanis Club were selling raffle tickets to give away both a girl’s bike and a boy’s bike during the festival.
Annie Lindstrom, a supporter of the Calusa Nature Center, was handing out flyers for their Friendly Forest and Haunted Walk on Halloween weekend.
“People need to come out and support the nature center,” she said. “The nature center is an important place to me and I want to see it succeed.”
“A community needs a place where families can go to have good, clean fun,” Lindstrom said about the center.
Executive Director of the Cape Coral Municipal Charter School Foundation Kevin Colpoys was at the festival hoping to get the word out about their school, along with promoting their Gold Card, which is a $20 discount card for 25 local businesses in Cape Coral.
He said the Charter school opened in 2005 and they currently have two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school that has an attendance of 2,200 students.
“We provide a unique, quality-based program,” Colpoys said about the charter school, which exists at no expense to residents of Cape Coral. “Our parents are very supportive with the things we do.”
Cape Coral resident Katie DeLeuce said although she just arrived at the festival and it was the first one she has attended, she thought it was a fantastic event.
“It would be cool if they could do it every month,” she said about the festival. “I called about eight of my friends to let them know about it.”
Cindy Graves and her family, who are residents of Cape Coral, also attended the festival for the first time this year.
Her two boys said they both enjoyed the event, especially when they had the opportunity to paint and see a pirate dressed up in costume, along with making sand art.
Graves said the event was well-organized and she would bring her family back next year.
“There is a lot for the kids to do,” she said.