Fair activities put spotlight on children

Children's Day volunteers prepare 1,500 goody bags while kids make crafts, join in educational activities


From infants to preteens, children flocked to the large white tent outside Burns Hall for the annual Children's Day at the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair.

Volunteers from various 4-H clubs offered noodle necklaces, stamped bookmarks, paper flowers, face-painting and animal cutout crafts.

Despite the sweltering temperatures Tuesday, the tent stayed full, except for a brief respite during lunch, for the entire 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. event. Several day care centers brought their children. Moms and a few dads, along with some grandparents, followed little ones around from craft to craft, adding to a goody bag already filled with projects for the kids to do at home.

"Last year we handed out 1,337 goody bags, so we're doing 1,500 this year," said Bonnie Stevens, Children's Day chairwoman. "We have things for them to pick up and take home, or they can make a craft here. It just takes a few minutes."

At the check-in table, Jenna Janocha and several other volunteers were kept busy filling the goody bags with coloring books and crayons, pencils, notepads - "a whole bunch of stuff kids can play with," as Janocha put it. "Every child gets a bag. Even if the parent comes in and says they have a child who is sick, we give them a bag."

Chloe Sankovich, 6, of Eldersburg, stopped by the tent to make a pretty necklace out of noodles and yarn supplied by the Carrollton 4-H Club. The necklace was added to her collection of craftwork.

"She made a bandana for her head and a little butterfly with a fruit roll-up," said her mother, Jennifer Sankovich, who brought Chloe and her brother, Chase, 10, to Children's Day for the first time. "Chase picked up the freebies."

At the Rolling Clovers 4-H Club table, Ashley Carlisle helped youngsters decorate a bookmark with animal stickers - "all the things they think they'll see at the fair today," she said.

The Fine Feathered Friends 4-H Club offered felt animal cutouts that children could decorate with feathers, puff balls and glitter. The Clover Buddies 4-H Club had triangular bandanas, decorated with animal stamps in various colors.

At the Flaming Arrows 4-H Club table, children made paper butterflies, while Deer Park 4-H Club members twisted the fingers of a hand cutout to create a paper flower with a pipe cleaner stem.

When they weren't making crafts, the children enjoyed petting the 4-Pawed Freedom 4-H Club's Seeing-Eye dogs, who visited throughout the day. The 4-H Kids on the Block made repeat presentations of a puppet skit on disability awareness, focusing on people with Down syndrome.

The ABC Day Care Center in Eldersburg brought 29 children from first through sixth grades to the fair and, after seeing the animals, stopped by the children's tent.

"I got my face painted," said Katie Schmier, 9, of Eldersburg, who sported a pink-and-blue butterfly on her left cheek.

Ashley Nickoles of Eldersburg brought her two children, Devon, 10, and Chase, 6. "We come every year," Nickoles said.

"I did all the crafts," said Devon. "My favorite was the bandana."

Her shy brother liked getting a prize from the Carroll County Public Library table.

The library table was one of several non-4-H activities Children's Day offered.

"We're continuing to register children for the summer reading program," said Kendal Hopkins, a library materials selector. "We're giving away prizes, and we sponsored a magic show, and we're just encouraging people to keep reading."

Just outside the children's tent, a trailer furnished to resemble the inside of a home provided walk-through tests of fire safety knowledge.

Volunteers with the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association led children and their parents through a kitchen, living room and bedroom in the trailer, asking the children to point out things that were potential hazards, explain what to do to correct them and describe what to do in the event of fire in their home.

Patti Walton of Hampstead followed her daughter Victoria, 8, through the trailer, as the youngster blurted out responses showing her knowledge of fire safety.

"We've had a lot of families come through, which is nice, because the adults take something away, too," said Kristi Gable, fire prevention committee chairwoman.


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