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Funfest Kids Activities

Funfest has something for everyone!
Funfest will once again provide free activities for kids during its annual Weekend, thanks to a partnership with several organizations and the backing of a longtime sponsor.  Funfest is September 7 and 8 in Downtown Hazleton, and the Kids Area will once again be based in First Presbyterian Church at Broad and Church Streets.  Indoor and outdoor activities will be held from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. Sunday.
“The Hazleton Area’s largest festival continues its longtime tradition of providing Kids Activities at little or no cost to children, thanks in great part to event sponsor Ustynoski and Marusak Law Offices and the partner organizations who help to run the activities,” said Funfest Executive Director Judiann McGrogan.  “We expect to have a great variety of activities for children ages 3 to 12 this year, and are hoping that everyone will stop in at the Church to enjoy the events.”
Ustynoski and Marusak is marking its eleventh consecutive year as Kids Activities sponsor.  In addition to hosting the Kids Area, the parishioners of First Presbyterian will also coordinate indoor activities. And for the first time this year, a “Touch-A-Truck” event will be held just outside the church in the block from Church to Vine Streets, featuring fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles from the City of Hazleton.  “This unique event will give young kids the chance to get a close up look at some of the big trucks and other vehicles that fascinate them,” said McGrogan.  Through the cooperation of Hazleton Mayor Joe Yannuzzi and other city officials, the “Touch-A-Truck” will go from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, in the block formerly used for the Funfest Craft Show.  The Craft Show has been moved to the Markle Parking lot two blocks east.
“Thanks to some community-minded folks, there will be many things to do and see in our Kids Area; so much so that it could really be its own event,” McGrogan said.  She offered special thanks to Jane Dougherty of First Presbyterian, who coordinates the activities.
First Presbyterian hosts the indoor activities, and will give kids the chance to do free transportation-related crafts to coincide with the trucks outside.  There will be other activities as well, and on Saturday, the church will provide a snack bar with tacos to go, drinks, and other goodies.  Local artist Kathy Dobash, who is also a member of the Funfest Committee, will create several crafts for children to undertake when they stop into the church.
Students from the Hazleton Area High School’s Key Club will be on hand to assist kids in their crafts throughout the Weekend. McGrogan encouraged students to volunteer.  “While students will only be in school a few days before Funfest Weekend arrives, we are encouraging them to sign up with the Key Club to volunteer at Funfest.  This is an excellent way to give back to your community, and the hours spent helping at the event can be used toward graduation projects.”  Funfest Committee member Pat Jones helps to coordinate the involvement of School District kids.
The Funfest Baby Care Station will also be located right inside First Presbyterian.  The center provides an area for mothers to change and feed their little ones.  It is expected to be staffed by the Child Care class from the Hazleton Area Career Center.  In addition to providing a location for baby care, the station will also have supplies on hand.
Other activities that will appeal to kids throughout Funfest Weekend include the Funfest Parade, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, featuring bands, floats, and balloons.  Amusement rides supplied by Goodtime Amusements will be located nearby.  On Saturday, Funfest will host the sixth annual “Pierogie Slapshot Challenge” for kids 12 and under, where contestants hit a frozen pierogie into a hockey net.  There is also a Pierogie Eating Contest, a classic Car Show, Craft Show, a Signature Burger Cook-off and a Pastry Bake-Off. On Sunday, children will have a chance to enter a free raffle to win a custom painted large sized tricycle as part of the Funfest Celebrity Trike Race. 
 Funfest also offers free entertainment at three venues throughout the Weekend.  Information about Funfest can be obtained by calling 455-1509 or 1-800-OKF-FEST

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