Festival for children draws 300 to Centennial Mall in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Festival for children draws 300 to Centennial Mall in Craig

Scott Schlaufman

Derek Pedrosa and his mother, Annie, work on a butterfly magnet Saturday during the Moffat County Early Childhood Coalition's Celebrate Children Festival. The annual event allowed children to make crafts and play games. Organizers hoped to raise awareness of the importance of early education through the event.
Scott Schlaufman

Rosalia Cortes, 4, bowls Saturday during the Moffat County Early Childhood Coalition's Celebrate Children Festival at Centennial Mall. The event allowed children to have fun with different activities, and also provided resources on topics including health and early education to parents. Scott Schlaufman

Rosie Crosthwaite, chairwoman of the Moffat County Early Childhood Coalition, said the purpose of Saturday's Celebrate Children Festival was to raise awareness of the importance of early education.

"(Educators) are constantly pushing for higher scores on all these (standardized) tests and everything," Crosthwaite said. "(Early education) is the key … not just the cognitive area of it, but learning to function in a group, get along with their peers, listen and take direction from another adult."

But, the awareness was approached in a fun manner for about 300 children and their parents who participated in the free event at Centennial Mall.

Families were able to meet with representatives from 15 organizations, including local preschools, the Craig Police Department and Moffat County Libraries.

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Along the way, children were able to sit down at small tables and make crafts such as magic wands or butterfly magnets. At other booths, they could go bowling, throw beanbags at targets or shoot baskets.

"It's for children and families, hopefully to get the families to participate as a group, which is what we do," Crosthwaite said.

At the booths, parents were able to get resources on topics such as health and education for their children.

Craig resident Laura Oatman brought her son, Derek, 4, and said it was nice the event was free.

"I've come the last two years and I think it's really cool," Oatman said. "The information and the activities that the kids get to do (are nice.) He has a lot of fun with it."

There were also appearances by Moffat County High School's Bulldog mascot and the Easter Bunny, who was available to take pictures with kids.

Five-year-old Derek Pedrosa attended the event with his mother, Annie. He said meeting the Easter Bunny was his favorite part, even though he made several crafts throughout the day.

Although attendance was what organizers had hoped for, Crosthwaite said a time change for the Craig Lions Club's annual candy race at Craig City Park may have had an effect on it. The race was previously held in the morning and families would attend the festival after.

This year, the candy race took place at 1 p.m. Saturday and the festival started slowing down around 12:30 p.m. as families left for the candy race.

Both Crosthwaite and Early Childhood Coalition Director Carol Taylor said the event wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for an estimated 60 volunteers who worked Saturday.

"If people weren't volunteering their time and coming and doing this, we wouldn't be able to have it," Crosthwaite said.

Taylor said she hopes families were able to take away educational ideas from the event for their children. She also said it was a fun way to end April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"This is, in a sense, how we're finishing off the month," Taylor said.

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