New Kidz Fest goes downtown

Posted: May 15, 2014

The Winchester Star

Winchester — Children will rule downtown Winchester Saturday.

Kidz Fest is a new, family-friendly event aimed at bringing a day of fun and educational activities for children to downtown, said Dario Savarese, one of the event coordinators.

The event is a project put on by the City of Winchester and Old Town Development Board with Winchester Academy as the presenting sponsor, he said.

“I am hoping this brings another segment of the region’s population here that hasn’t been downtown to continue to explore,” said Savarese, owner of Full Circle Marketing.

Kidz Fest will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on and around the Loudoun Street Mall and feature games, activities, entertainment and information. It is free and open to the public.

Almost 50 exhibitors will set up downtown offering activities and information centered on four key areas in relation to children — art, sports, education and music, Savarese said.

Winchester Academy will have four stations set up for children in each of the focus areas, said Jacki Howett, student services director. The activities will be an obstacle course, an “Are You Smarter than a Grade Schooler?” booth to test their smarts, and an art station with sand art or bead bracelets.

“We are also looking at a photo booth and maybe some karaoke to get the kids goofing around,” said Howett of Strasburg.

Winchester Academy became involved because it is an event that is free for the public, encourages family interaction, and can help raise awareness of what the school offers, she said. “We believe in finding the specific talents that are God given to the kids and honing those along with educating them and creating lifelong learners.”

Several downtown businesses are getting involved in the day. Posh Pets Boutique invited Dakota’s Dream animal rescue to set up a booth with small animals available for adoption, including rats, gerbils and mice, said Rebecca Miller, co-owner. It is focusing on small animals with a first pet emphasis.

“They will talk about having a first pet and talk about the importance of feeding, bathing and taking care of them,” she said.

The National Humane Education Society will also set up and talk about pet care for dogs and cats, she said.

Other participants include storytelling by Handley Regional Library, animal education by 4-H groups, gymnastics demonstrations by Competitive Edge, a pitching and hitting clinic by Handley High School softball and baseball, face painting by Mountain Laurel Montessori School, a basketball clinic by Winchester Storm, fire safety by Winchester Fire and Rescue, the Bubble Van by Winchester Parks and Rec, and inflatable slides and games by Monkey Joe’s, Savarese said.

While the different vendors offer hands-on experiences for the children, the event also brings awareness for what they do or offer to the community, he said.

Some of the exhibitors are nonprofits that will offer information about their services, including the Youth Development Center, Child Advocacy Center, Children of America, Families Reaching Out Group, The Laurel Center and NAACP Youth.

A full schedule of performers will entertain people from 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on a stage on Rouss Avenue near the Old Court House Civil War Museum, Savarese said. Entertainment for the day will include Peter McCory the One Man Band, Gary the Frisbee Guy, Selah Theater Project, Winchester Academy Dancers, and Jerry the Jester.

A variety of street performers will also entertain crowds throughout the day.

Kidz Fest will be held rain or shine, Savarese said. “Even if it rains a little bit, it never dampens the spirit of kids. They love puddles.”

Information

Kidz Fest will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Winchester and feature games, entertainment, activities and information. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to oldtownwinchesterva.com.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com