For kids, Community Park was the place to be on Saturday.
The park was bouncing with a sensory overload of games, activities, sounds and sights as hundreds of youngsters had a total field day at this year’s Children’s Day Festival.
With pony rides and endless options for fun, it was a day for them to remember.
“I’m still surprised by how big this turned out to be,” Clinton resident Lisa Klassen said. “It’s great that there is this much for our kids to do here. My daughter was excited about the crafts and bounce houses, but she just had to wait patiently in line for a pony ride. That was the highlight for her.”
Indeed, the pony rides seemed to excite the little ones more than anything. People waited in line for hours for a ride, while parents looked on snapping photos for their scrapbooks. Around the festival grounds, kids could be heard gleefully screaming “Ponies! Ponies! Ponies!” as they begged their parents to wait in line with them.
The pony rides were only one part of the fun.
The Children’s Day Festival, hosted by South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, was organized to “unite and celebrate our children” with the “familiest” event of the year, according to the district’s website. The festival had seemingly endless entertainment options for kids, including games, crafts and more than 30 interactive booths set up by local businesses and organizations that support children and their families.
“It’s unique,” Langley resident Becca Swan said. “I haven’t heard of many communities that put on something like this to this scale.”
While some youngsters had the time of their lives on the backs of ponies or in bounce houses, others enjoyed simpler things. South Whidbey Fire/EMS volunteers let grinning kids sit in the driver’s seat of a fire engine, and others wanted to test their meddle in obstacles courses set up on one of the park’s baseball fields. Some preferred to keep it old school and roll down a steep hill at top speed with their buddies.
For 3-year-old Langley resident Jackson Alford, he had fun showing off the temporary ink on his forearm. He got a red skull.
“Look at my tattoo!” Alford said.
Alford’s mother, Langley resident Kristina Harris, suggested the festivities indicated South Whidbey is bending over backwards to provide for young families. She says an event like this was missing when she was her kids’ age, despite there being more young families when she was growing up. These days, there’s much more for little ones to do for fun.
For Harris, South Whidbey just needs more kids. This is a step in the right direction.
“You can tell there’s an effort to have more for kids to do, and I think that could help bring younger families to the island,” she said. “I just wish there was more stuff like this. It’s a lot of fun for everybody.”