Fun-N-Safety Fair held in Jim Thorpe
Makena Scherer, 4, of Jim Thorpe, tries her luck at the bean bag toss stand, hosted by Blue Mountain Health System. Representatives from the hospital educated children on the importance of sports safety, which is part of a sports safety grant that Carbon County Safe Kids received this year.
Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for the fifth annual Carbon County Children's Fun-N-Safety Fair in Jim Thorpe.
Hundreds of children and their families from around the county attended the event, which teaches kids about being safe in different situations.
The event, organized by Carbon Lodge 242 of Free and Accepted Masons, and Carbon County Safe Kids, provided fun and education to children and parents alike. There was free food, free games, face painting and a lot of educational activities.
Mindy Graver, chairwoman of Safe Kids and the family living/family resiliency educator for Carbon County's Penn State Extension, said she was thrilled by the turn out.
"We had a wonderful attendance," she said, adding that she was also pleased by the number of volunteers who gave their time during the four-hour fair. "It was absolutely wonderful. Everyone pulled together and everyone had fun."
Allen Heydt, worshipful master of Carbon Lodge 242, added that the event was a success.
"Even if we can help one child to be safe, we're doing a good job," he said, noting that he believes all the children took away a very good education on safety issues.
All of the youngsters in attendance agreed that the event was "fun," and parents agreed that it was educational for their children.
Mike Huber of Jim Thorpe, who brought his grandchildren to the fair, said the Fun-N-Safety fair is a good event for children and families.
"I think they're doing an excellent job with teaching the children about safety," he said, adding that they have been attending the fair every year.
Among the special guests were Smokey Bear and Vince and Larry, two crash test dummies, who walked around, spoke with the children, and posed for photos.
During the fair, Trooper Shannon Yorke of the Pennsylvania State Police gave demonstrations on proper seat belt safety.
The Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company brought its Fire House, which is a mobile structure utilized as an educational tool to show children the best way to reach safety if a fire occurs in their home.
Mel Zeigler, Safe Kids member, and Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein demonstrated the importance of wearing a helmet with the very popular "coconut-crusher," which shows what would happen to a child's head if it is not protected by a helmet.
Following the demonstrations, the group gave out free helmets to the children in attendance.
Pinnacle Health was there providing free lead testing to children under the age of 7.
Jim Thorpe Fire Departments, as well as the Lehighton Ambulance were on the scene; while the Jim Thorpe Police Department held a fatal vision goggles demonstration, where children put on goggles that mimicked an intoxicated person's vision and then had to walk a straight line.
Penn State Master Gardeners educated children about being aware of pesticide and toxic items that look like food products.
Carbon County Children's Team, who advocates for children with disabilities, taught about gross motor skills by restraining a child's arms with a rubber band and asking them to throw a ball. This illustrated how it is difficult for children with disabilities.
Other groups that also had stands set up outside included Pathstone Head Start, face painting; Diakon Hospice Saint John, handmade butterflies; Right From The Start; Pre-K Counts; Carbon County Drug and Alcohol; state Rep. Doyle Heffley; St. Luke's Urgent Care Center and Physical Therapy, first aid kits; Pocono Area Community Resource Center; Janner's Martial Arts; and a child identification program that provided parents with fingerprint and other defining information about their child in the event they would ever go missing or be lost.
Boys from Concern provided help for the cotton candy stand; and a DJ played throughout the day.
In addition to events, all the children who attended were entered into free drawings, which included numerous bicycles, as well as other various prizes. Prizes were purchased using money that was donated by area businesses, organizations, and individuals, including Pocono Whitewater Rafting, Blue Mountain Health System, Summit Hill Lions Club, Nesquehoning Women's Club, Dr. Deborah Smith, Jim Thorpe National Bank, The Old Jail Museum, Partners for Progress, and Nesquehoning Lions Club.