Carnival, seminars try to beat winter blahs 4-H Club, Jaycees sponsor weekend festivals

March 02, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Kiddie rides, carnival games and educational and entertaining classes were among the offerings at two weekend festivals organized to help children -- and their parents -- beat the midwinter monotony of "nothing to do."

The buildings at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster filled quickly yesterday afternoon as families turned out for the Westminster Jaycees Winter Carnival. The day

before, nearly all the classes at the "Beat the Mid-Winter Blahs" seminar sponsored by the Carroll County 4-H program were over capacity -- 260 people registered for courses from "An Introduction to Veterinary Science" to "Make Your Own Pizza."

Carrie Sellman, 4-H program assistant, said the annual February seminar at Westminster High School has become a favorite with 4-H'ers and a good way to get 4-H newcomers involved in the program.

Courtney Brulinski, 6, of Millers attended for the first time Saturday with her older sister, Chelsea Brulinski, 9. The girls made sock puppets together in one class, but split up for the remaining sessions. Courtney opted for more crafts classes while Chelsea, an aspiring veterinarian, learned how seeing-eye dogs are trained and got a beginner's look at veterinary science.

The classes -- all offered free or for a nominal materials fee -- are taught by 4-H club leaders and the 4-H'ers themselves. Ten-year-old Matthew Thurston of Manchester taught juggling Saturday afternoon with his 14-year-old brother, Nicholas Thurston, as his teaching assistant. Nicholas said that while he didn't like taking orders from his younger brother, Matthew was a good teacher. "He taught me," Nicholas said as his brother organized a bag of rubber balls, colored scarves and other props.

Teaching runs in the Thurston family. Nine-year-old Ryan Thurston taught fellow 4-H'ers how to make paper airplanes -- a skill he learned from a friend two weeks ago, he said. Determined not to be outdone by his siblings, Ryan approached seminar organizers with his idea. He included magic markers on his supply list "because if we have time we're going to color them," he said.

Sellman, with the 4-H program, said the Mid-Winter Blahs seminar is an invaluable teaching tool that helps 4-H'ers hone their public speaking skills.

Candy Cole, a veteran 4-H mother, club leader and seminar instructor, agreed. Her son, Tim Cole, 16, attended past Mid-Winter Blahs classes. This year, he instructed younger 4-H'ers how to show lambs in 4-H's livestock project. It was gratifying for the mother of "the kid who never, ever talked" to see him in the classroom "sitting there on the desk with his feet on the chair like any high school teacher, relaxed as could be, as he explained what the kids needed to do," Candy Cole said.

At the Jaycees' Winter Carnival, the agenda was strictly fun and games. Geared to children ages 1 to 10, the festival offered a way for the younger set to use their excess energy on a day that was too dreary to play outside.

Cooper Bowers, 3, of Westminster could barely stand still long enough for a clown to perch a newly made balloon hat on his head.

After a few fruitless seconds pleading with their parents to let them play a game where goldfish were the prize -- "I refuse to have any more goldfish in the family," said their mother, Laura Bowers -- Cooper and his brother, Broc Bowers, 4, sprinted toward the rides.

A train, small fighter planes that whizzed through the air and ladybugs that bounced up and down delighted children and parents alike. Melvin and Melanie Arrington of Taneytown watched as their 5-year-old daughter, Kayla Arrington, rang the fire bell on a child-size fire engine that was part of the train ride. She dragged her father back to the ticket booth for more rides minutes later.

NTC Mark Franklin of Mount Airy said he thought the indoor carnival was a great idea. "He always wants to know when the next carnival is," Franklin said, as he watched his 5-year-old son, Kyle Franklin, win his third goldfish at a ball toss game. Father and son planned to stop for fish food on the way home. Kyle also won a giant bouncing ball.

Debby Kloss and Margie Simmers, co-chairwomen of the carnival, estimated attendance at 1,000 early yesterday afternoon.

The carnival began Saturday morning. Kloss and Simmers said poor weather hurt attendance Saturday night. Booths closed about 90 minutes early when it became apparent that the dense fog had caused people to stay home. Last winter -- the first year for the indoor carnival -- more than 2,000 people attended, the organizers said.

The Jaycees' proceeds from the carnival will be donated to the Dutterer Family Park, which is planned in Westminster. 4-H clubs, community organizations and other nonprofit groups rent space from the Jaycees, and the organizations use their profits to finance projects. Kloss and Simmers said the Jaycees donated $1,000 to the park fund last year and were hoping to donate "at least a few hundred dollars beyond that this year."

Pub Date: 3/02/98

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