Second annual KidsFest combines safety message with an afternoon of entertainment
The cost of admission for Sandusky's second annual KidsFest on Saturday afternoon was a canned goods donation.
But the fun experienced there was priceless.
The estimated 4,011 people who visited the Sandusky Bay Pavilion between noon-5 p.m. enjoyed face painting, inflatable slides and games, funnel cakes, live music, and even a pirate show.
A redesigned version of Streaky Bear, Sandusky Schools' mascot, made its debut, leading the Sandusky high school percussion band through the pavilion and getting photos taken with kids.
A small crowd gathered around the karaoke booth as Davion White,14, performed her rendition of Maria Carey's hit single, "We Belong Together," with her four friends, Telia Matthews, 8, Jalela Henderson, 11, and Iyonna Sanders, 9.
But the day was not only about food, fun and games.
KidsFest Committee Chair Faith Denslow said she hopes those who visited learned alittle more about the safety services and opportunities their community has to offer.
"The goal is to educate the community about the services available in the Sandusky area," Denslow said. "A lot of times the community doesn't realize what's available here. If we can save one person by educating them today, we've done something good."
In 2005, the city had a safety fair that didn't get the kind of audience it wanted: families with children.
"We centered (KidsFest) around children because while they're here having fun, they also go to the safety tent and learn about the services in our community."
Those services include safety agencies like the State Highway Patrol and the Sandusky Safety Council, which educates businesses on how to improve safety in the workplace.
There were also several service programs at the event, like the Erie and Huron County Community Action Commission & Head Start, which provides home repair and summer food & cooling programs for seniors and needy families.
"Helping low income families become self sufficient. That's our goal," said Supervisor Viola Washington.
Sandusky Junior Sailors Inc. gave out out information about sailing lessons for kids.
The nonprofit agency offers four sessions throughout the summer, which cost $135 each, but scholarships for the program are also available.
Gwendolyn Pittman of Sandusky said KidsFest was a great opportunity for her and her three daughters to get out of the house.
"I'm having fun," she said. "I just moved up here from Detroit. It's better down here to raise your kids."
Pittman's 7-year-old daughter, Deshawnda Terrell, said she enjoyed the inflatable slide.
This year's KidsFest was a collaboration between the city of Sandusky, Sandusky City Schools, and the Maritime Museum.
It was funded by private donations from the Wightman-Wieber, Dorn, and Frost-Parker Foundations and Ohio Edison.