News flash: Research is proving that it is actually possible to have an enjoyable time which doesn’t involve a computer, television set or other electronic device.
That fact is reinforced every spring in Mount Airy and will be again this Saturday when the ninth-annual Kidsfest is held at Riverside Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event sponsored by Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, which began in 2010, will offer traditional and other outdoor activities on the park grounds. These include fishing along the banks of the Ararat River, a bike rodeo, learning how to pot tomato plants that the kids can then take home, a giant slide, lawn games, face painting and additional attractions such as an obstacle course.
“It’s a free event for the community,” Family Services Supervisor Fonda Branch of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation said of Kidsfest.
“The idea is just getting kids and families outdoors away from technology, electronics, and letting them see you can still have fun,” Branch added Thursday.
That philosophy has been successful year in and year out, even as technology expands.
“It’s always a big event,” Branch said of the turnout for Kidsfest, which averages around 500 people and has been known to draw as many as 800.
“And, of course, the weather always has a lot to do with it,” she said. “The event is normally always held no matter what, rain or shine.”
The activities lineup for the springtime festival is tweaked from year to year. For example, at Kidsfest 2018 there will be no climbing wall as in years past, but that has been replaced by the obstacle course.
Fishing is a Kidsfest mainstay. “There will be fishing poles there if they don’t own them,” Branch said of participants.
Youths with bike helmets are asked to bring those along if they want to participate in the rodeo.
Branch also thinks the educational aspects of Kidsfest are important, such as the tomato plants activity that allows youngsters to work in the soil and learn about vegetable production.
The tomato plants are grown at North Surry High School by members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) club and then donated for Kidsfest.
Concessions will available for purchase.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.