Kid’s Fest breaks attendance record

PARKERSBURG – Due to Saturday’s relatively mild weather, the 2013 Kid’s Fest at City Park drew a record crowd of children for a day of fun and games.

Nancy Harrell, one of the organizers, said Saturday’s attendance was a record-setter for the event.

“By noon we had 1,047 (children) registered,” she said. “Last year when it was 104 degrees in the park we had a little more than 1,000 for the entire day.

“This is huge, we have never had that many.”

For 2013, Harrell said the festival had more blow-up games that were bigger than last year, but everything else was pretty much unchanged from before.

“For entertainment we had bands, Mr. Mike, a former Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus clown who is the D.A.R.E. officer with the Clarksburg Police Department,” she said. “He was with us a little bit last year and we will have him for a longer period this year. He is great, we want to do more with him next year.”

Harrell said G-Force Strength Unit was also making a return engagement to the festival, which incorporates feats of strength with Christian messages.

“They really hit home with the gospel,” she said. “They are powerful with their message; they draw their own crowd.”

Harrell said there was a call Friday to Liberty Street Church of God from a lady in North Carolina who wanted to know if G-Force would appear.

“Her son is a big fan and they make the trip up here every year to see them.”

Harrell said the festival was started by Liberty Street Church of God a decade ago and this year the church partnered with Baptist Temple and Bethel A.M.E. Church. There are also many individuals from the community at large who volunteer at the event, she added.

“We have a new excitement and we learned from the year before,” she said. “Our volunteers all have a new excitement, they are more committed and excited. This is the biggest thing we do and the community gets behind it. There is a bigger energy this year.”

Kristian Burge, of Belpre, said her son Lian liked the duck pond.

“He seemed to enjoy the duck pond but he didn’t want to play with the ducks,” she said. “He tried to get in the water and he’s soaked up to his knees.”

Jessica Arkinson said her son Bobby enjoyed the day at City Park.

“He liked the bottle rocket, the face painting and Angry Birds sling shot,” she aid.

“I like all of them,” Bobby agreed.

The Rev. Brian Harrell, with Liberty Street Street Church of God, said the change in the weather from last year was a contributor to the larger crowd at the event.

“Last year it was 104 degrees, so this is very nice, but it is a little muddy in places,” he said.

Brian Harrell said the heat and the fact the festival was so soon after the June 30, 2012, derecho may have kept so many away from the event last year. The festival volunteers cleaned up debris and downed tree limbs prior to last year’s event.

Brian Harrell had praise for the city’s crew at the park.

“They have bent over backward for us, they have been absolutely awesome,” he said. “They have done all they can for us.”