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Kids’ Fest draws crowd to downtown WB

WILKES-BARRE — A children’s festival held at Midtown Village on Saturday provided a chance for families to enjoy a variety of fun activities while learning a bit about staying healthy and being safe.

The third annual Downtown Discoveries Kids’ Fest, hosted by the Diamond City Partnership, included a sing-a-long and pictures with Princess Elsa, face painting, balloon art, children’s activities by the YMCA, Wilkes-Barre City Health Department booth, crafts by the Sordoni Art Gallery and music by Vinsko Entertainment. The event also included the City of Wilkes-Barre fire truck, swag bags, games and giveaways.

For Penelope Wallace, much of the event was about the chance to get a photo with Elsa. The seven-year-old waited patiently in line for a chance to meet the princess, who was quick with a smile and kind word for the children she met. Adrienne Wallace, her mother, who works downtown, thought the children’s activity was a great way to spend a Saturday morning with her children.

“It will tire them out for a nap,” she said, laughing.

Wilkes-Barre community police officer Sgt. Jamie Sheridan was on hand to provide pamphlets and information on topics which included topics ranging from how to eat healthy to how to grow your own food. Sheridan’s goal is to get to know children and families in a positive environment, so they will realize that police officers are there to help.

“We’re here to protect and serve,” Sheridan said. “We protect first, before we serve.”

Sheridan pointed out that the department recently participated in a “National Night Out,” with Plains Township, which also emphasized getting to know residents in a non-emergency, friendly environment.

Jackie Drabot, of Sprout Pediatric Dental, Kingston, said the business was participating in an effort to inform children about dental health. The business was giving away toothbrushes and other dental hygiene items, as well as offering tattoos and face painting. Drabot said the business was participating for the first year and was having a great response from families, many who stopped to get a photo with life size toothbrush and toothpaste characters.

“It’s great timing, right before school starts up again,” she said. Elaine Rash, Youth Services Coordinator at Osterhout Free Library, provided a chance for children to fashion a baby shark from a paper bag and crayons.

“Not only do they have fun making it,” she said. “They get something to take with them.” The event also kicked off a scavenger hunt activity, which included various spots in the downtown area.

The passports accompanying the hunt were available at the event and will also be available at the Osterhout Library, the YMCA and the Luzerne County Visitors Bureau.

Children can bring completed passports to the Osterhout Library by September 3rd to be entered into a contest to win prizes.

Shelby Monk, DCP’s Marketing and Event Coordinator, said the event was made possible through sponsorship.

“We are very grateful to have the support from the community, especially our friends at Highmark, the presenting sponsor of the event for the third year in a row. We would also like to thank FNCB, The Times Leader Media Group, Building Blocks Learning Center, and the YMCA,” Monk said.