Little ones swarm to county fair on a day set aside just for them

September 18, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

They came in minivans, station wagons, school buses and strollers. They came with color-coded name tags, matching outfits and brown bag lunches. They came, and they swarmed the 42nd Anne Arundel County Fair during Pre-school and Kindergarten Day.

For the better part of a lazy Friday, before the gates opened to the general public, about 1,500 youngsters from 33 schools and day care centers throughout the county had their fill at the fairgrounds in Crownsville.

"It's their day," said Diana Wilson, a fair spokeswoman. "This is just for the little ones to come. They don't have to look up to all these tall people."

More than 45,000 people are expected to attend the five-day fair.

The day, now in its sixth year, allows children to enjoy the fair without getting lost in the crowd. About 800 adults, largely teachers and parents, also came to chaperon the kids' day out.

Admission and rides were free. Alex Detessiers and Todd Davis, who bill themselves as Speed and Thro, put on the magic show, sponsored by Wilson Bus Service Inc. of Pasadena. North Arundel Hospital crews made finger puppets and officers from the county police Crime Prevention Division handed out helium balloons.

"Seeing all the children here, they don't feel so overwhelmed," said Debbie Frazer, who brought her 5-year-old daughter, Lillian, from Cape St. Claire Elementary School.

"I don't like crowds in general so we like to come with the school. It also allows them to bond with the other children," added John Collura, an electrical engineer who took the day off to be with his daughter Hillary Anne.

The 4-year-old was prepared for a day at the fair. She wore her green Indian Creek School shirt, which hung past her knees, and black-spotted white galoshes to wade through the muddy tracks of animals' stalls.

Typically, seeing and petting farm animals are among the most popular activities on preschool and kindergarten days. Several teachers said they tailored this month's curriculum to the fair visit so that children could learn about animals, then see them up close.

In the morning, children packed the stalls -- edging each other to peek at rabbits, chickens, turkeys, goats, horses, cows and sheep. In the afternoon, they lined up for rides on the merry-go-round, Car Combo or Jolly Choppers.

"It's just nice for the kids to go out and do something outside of the classroom," said Terri Allen, who attended with her daughter, Alicia Jackson. The 5-year-old from Severna Park's Woods Child Development Center said she enjoyed the tractors most.

Others thought the day helped parents get involved in their children's schools.

"It's great for her to see her mother and teacher together talking and having things in common," said Marielaure Defrate, who came with her 5-year-old daughter Chloe, a student at Rolling Knolls Elementary School.

Mrs. Defrate even rode the bus to the fair. Her daughter, she said, "was very excited because I got on her school bus."

After a volunteer from North Arundel Hospital made a finger puppet for her, Chloe rested with her mother on a bench inside a fair pavilion.

"Are you tired?" asked Mrs. Defrate.

"Of course not," said Chloe, nodding her head. And the two went off to explore more of the fair.

This is the last day of the fair. It will be open today from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $6.

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