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Kiwanis KidsFest called the best yet

By Staff | Oct 31, 2012

It may have been a little breezy, but that didn’t stop families and kids of all ages from cramming into Jaycee Park in Cape Coral for the 15th annual KidsFest on Saturday.

While nobody knew exactly how many people turned out, organizers did say it was the most attended KidsFest since its inception in 1998.

The event, sponsored by the Harney Point Kiwanis Club and the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department, was presented by Fox 4 and the Burandt, Adamski & Feichthaler law firm.

The event was free, with $2 for parking, and featured health and safety information for families, more than 100 family-oriented vendors, giveaways, crafts, reasonably priced food and numerous attractions for the kids.

“We wanted to give an inexpensive, free day that kids wouldn’t usually be able to,” said Eric Feichthaler of the Harney Point Kiwanis and former Cape Coral mayor. “Health and safety was the main thrust, such as Stranger Danger.”

Among the attractions for kids included a climbing wall, pony rides, a giant slide and a bounce house. The event also featured two costume contests, with tickets to the Barbara B. Mann Hall’s presentation of “Elf,” and the Junior League of Fort Myers presented backpacks filled with supplies for the first 200 kids.

“We also had a venue for entertainment. Dance and karate schools had a place to perform with an audience,” Feichthaler said. “Many thousands were there to see them.”

There was also a canned food drive to benefit the Cape Coral Caring Center.

After last year, when three inches of rain greatly curtailed attendance, the sunny, albeit windy conditions, kept things cool and brought in people by the thousands.

“The wind and sun made for great weather. We had triple of last year,” Feichthaler said.

Thanks to the advance publicity and 30,000 fliers passed out to area schools, Feichthaler estimated about 6,000 attended, with about 1,400 cars parked. This created some problems with traffic and parking, but he said most people were understanding, with all the free entertainment once you got to the park.

The 110 vendors were also double of what they usually have, Feichthaler said.

As for the future, Feichthaler said if this year’s event was any measure, KidsFest could be moved a bigger venue, such as SunSplash, with ample parking.

Feichthaler said he didn’t want to see that happen.

“I like the riverfront. It’s always been home there,” Feichthaler said.