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Fall Festival gives kids a chance to horse around

By Staff | Oct 23, 2011

Local children had the chance to dress up in costume, play games and ride horses for a few hours Saturday during the annual Halloween Fall Festival in Cape Coral.

The event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., was held at the Saddlewood Horse Club, located off of Southwest Pine Island Road. Open to toddlers on up to teens, the festival featured a horse and pony parade with the animals in costume, crafts and games centered around horses and a bounce house.

Children could have their picture taken with the horses, and they got to feed the animals.

Christina Sdrenka, who runs the business with her husband and four children, said her family started hosting the festival a couple of years ago to provide area families with “clean Halloween fun.” This year they dressed the animals up in mix of outfits that included a hula girl, knight, clown and bumblebee.

“We just love the idea of dressing up the horses,” she said, adding that the children love it, too.

Since the club’s inaugural festival, the turnout has gotten bigger each year.

“Lots of kids have not been close to horses,” Sdrenka said, especially those living in the Cape.

So, when children get a chance to touch, feed and ride the animals, they have a great time.

“They love it,” she said.

Scott and Carolina Flinn brought their 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, out on Saturday.

“She’s never seen horses, never been around horses,” Carolina Flinn said.

Sophia rode a horse, jumped in the bounce house and got to “paint” Cherokee, as did other children. One of the day’s activities was leaving handprints on the horse in colored, non-toxic paint.

“She had a good time,” Flinn said of her daughter. “We’d come back again.”

Not all in attendance were new to horses.

On Saturday, Carrie Marr brought out her, daughter, 5-year-old Bella Harrelson.

“She loves horseback riding,” Marr said, adding that Bella has previously ridden at the club.

Originally from Michigan, she explained that the family is used to festivals during this time of year that have hay rides and such. The club’s event is the closest thing to that that her family could find locally.

“For the price, you can’t beat it,” Marr added. “All of that plus lunch.”

With definite plans to attend next year, she recommended the festival for all families.

Cost of admission was $20 per child, and it included lunch and crafts to take home.

“It’s an inexpensive fun day at the barn,” Sdrenka said.

Saddlewood Horse Club is located at 16111 Saddlewood Lane.

For more information, call 738-9300 or visit online at: www.saddlewood-horseclub.com.