By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
The date for this year’s Children’s Healthy Fun Fair was moved from early March to late April, but Memorial Library’s children director is looking for kids of all ages to make their way to the Seward County Ag Building this Saturday.
Carol Rittscher said due to a scheduling conflict, the Ag Building was in use for the entire month of March, but she said this allowed her the opportunity to visit a similar fair, the Family, Fun, Food and Fitness Day Saturday, April 10.
This, she said, gave her ideas for some new agencies for this year’s fair. Among the organizations new this year are Youthville, Mosaic, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Families Together and Family Health Partners.
Rittscher said the Liberal Police Department will likewise be playing a bigger role in this year’s fair.
“We always have the fingerprinting table, but we’re going to have another group of people from the police department providing some information to families,” she said.
Rittscher said the Lions Eye Bank will be back this year, and as part of that, the group will bring the Sure Sight vision screener.
“It’s a machine that does a refraction 14 inches away from the person’s face,” she said. “This machine does all of the calculating after it’s gotten its results. It doesn’t require a judgement on the part of the person doing it.”
Rittscher said this is a valuable tool for parents.
“Lots of times, their child gets in school way before someone realizes there’s a visual problem and seeks to correct it,” she said. “This will give them an idea if there’s a problem with their child and their vision.”
There are other returning favorites, and with the change in date, Rittscher is hoping the public will be there as well.
“We’ll have some healthy snacks,” she said. “We’re going to have the fluoride varnishes again this year. Lots of little crafts. We encourage people to stop by everyone’s booth and see what they have. Lots of good information.”
The 2009 Healthy Fun Fair had a good turnout. Rittscher said numbers for the event run around 500, including both adults and kids.
“This is for parents as well, so bring your children out,” she said. “Anywhere from birth through 6th grade is what we aim for in age group. It’ll be at the Ag Building on the Seward County Fairgrounds.”
The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and children will receive a bag at the door to collect all of the things they find at the many booths in the Ag Building. Balloons will be given away as well.
The Children’s Healthy Fun Fair is now in its seventh year, and Rittscher said the event has grown significantly.
“The first couple of years, we were here at the library, and it was pretty small compared to what we’ve expanded into,” she said. “Each year, it seems like we’ve picked up a couple new agencies.”
Rittscher said the event has grown so much that some agencies inquired about getting more tables for additional activities.
“We’ve added some tables for some agencies,” she said. “Not only have our numbers grown, but the things that are being offered have also expanded.”
Rittscher said she is again hoping for at least 500 people at this year’s fun fair.
“It shows that we are holding the interest of the community in this event,” she said. “That’s always a good thing to have.”
While the date for this year’s event was moved to late April due to a scheduling conflict, Rittscher said library officials will have to wait to see if the move is permanent.
“We’re going to see how that works out,” she said. “We’re definitely going to discuss afterwards which of the two dates we think works the best.”