Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:54 PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Safe Kids Fair gears up for its 20th year



By SHANNON REID
FOR THE HOMER NEWS

Coordinators gearing up for the 20th Annual Safe Kids Fair are expecting a large turnout this year, estimating a 50 percent increase in visitors since the original fair.

"(The fair) has increased," said Ronnie Leach, the chapter coordinator for the Safe Kids Fair. "We have a lot of activities to offer families during the weekend."

This year's fair will present more than 25 educational vendors in addition to a drunk driving simulation car in the lower Homer High School parking lot. Goggles are worn by the driver of the go-cart-like vehicle and dialed to a specific level of inebriation. Under appropriate supervision drivers are then asked to complete an obstacle course, demonstrating the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

This free event aims to increase safety education and awareness while including an array of interactive games and exhibits. The fair is intended for kids anywhere from birth to teen years and will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Homer High School Commons.

South Peninsula Hospital will sponsor a SCRUB CLUB booth, incorporating activities that reveal the easy spread of germs and the necessity of washing hands. SPH also will sponsor the Teddy Bear Clinic booth where children are given time to consult with real nurses about the health of their new free stuffed animal. This ideally allows for children to approach nurses in the future without fear.

A booth on boating safety sponsored by the Coast Guard Auxiliary also will be featured. The importance of wearing life vests that fit will be established and some will be available to try on.

Smokey Bear and other favorite characters such as Safety Seal and PFD Otter will be making appearances throughout the fair.

Kids are reminded to bring a bicycle for the Bike Rodeo that will take place between 10 a.m. and noon in the lower high school parking lot. Helmets are required and will be available to purchase. Participants will receive a lesson on hand signals and a bike and helmet safety check before they enter the obstacle course.

"We have a good time with the kids," said Elaine Grabowski of the Homer Fire Department and coordinator for the Bike Rodeo. "They have a lot of fun and feel a sense of accomplishment when they can ride the rodeo course."

Two new events include the HoPP-A-Thon and a Zumba Dance demonstration. HoPP, an acronym for Homer Playground Project, is working with children and adults to raise funds for the new playground at Karen Hornaday Park. Kids under 12 are invited to drop by the Homer High School gym any time between noon and 2 p.m.

Participants will hop, run, skip and walk around an oval course, receiving pledges for the amount of time spent moving on the course. Any kind of movement is accepted as long as participants keep in motion. Some hula hoops and jump ropes will be provided.

HoPP volunteer Derotha Ferraro believes the HoPP-A-Thon gives the kids a vital chance to be involved in the making of the new playground.

"Even if they do fifteen minutes it's their way to contribute," said Ferraro.

Participants who raise $50 or more will get their name engraved on a picket that will be placed in the new park.

Door prizes will be drawn throughout the day, ending with a drawing for a free bicycle. With nothing to lose except calories during the HoPP-A-Thon, the 20th Annual Safe Kids Fair will likely be greeted with equal enthusiasm from both children and adults.

The Safe Kids Fair kicks off Week of the Young Child, an annual event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Week of the Young Child aims to highlight the specific needs of young children and their families. Programs range from a Family Bird Walk through Beluga Slough trail to a singing and storytelling session with local musician Michael Murray. Week of the Young Child events can be found at www.pop411.org as well as on this page.

Shannon Reid is a high school senior who will graduate from the Connections Homeschool Program in May.

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