Kids Fest Growing

PARKERSBURG – What started as a different type of vacation Bible school with 80 children has grown into the annual Kids Fest, an event drawing thousands to City Park in Parkersburg.

Nancy Harrell, one of the organizers of Kids Fest, said this year’s attendance may have been 2,000 through the gates before noon.

“We brought it to the park 11 years ago with a couple of games and we thought ‘We have 80 kids, isn’t this great,'” she said. “Now it’s grown to all of this.”

Harrell said this year they had larger inflatable games and a spider tent gave them room for several skills games. The tent was a great success, she said.

Harrell said the Kids Fest grows with the help of churches and individuals.

“Each year the community seems to get behind us more and more,” she said. “There seems to be more community support this year.”

Harrell said the main churches behind the Kids Fest are Liberty Street Church of God, where her husband is pastor, The Baptist Temple and Bethel AME Church. She added there were volunteers from many different churches in the city and county also helping with Saturday’s event.

Terry Kennedy, one of the organizers, said the Kids Fest runs because of its volunteers.

“There are more people who will remain nameless who are doing things behind the scenes that are blowing my mind,” he said. “For instance we were given a $2,000-a-day generator for free.”

Kennedy said last Monday they were talking with Steve Cox, City of Parkersburg Public Works Director, about getting more electric power to the Kids Fest site and he was able to run more power to them but it was still not enough.

“He asked if we could get generators,” he said. “I said we don’t have the money for that, they are about $2,000 a day, and on Thursday night someone offered us one for free.

“That’s the stuff that is happening that I can’t put into words,” he said. “This is way bigger that a couple of churches who decided to start a Bible school.”

Kennedy said the volunteers are the most giving people he has worked with.

Kristen Full, of Parkersburg, said her son Garrett liked the inflatable games. Garrett added that he also liked to get his face painted.

Diane Merina, of Parkersburg, said she has brought her daughters to the Kids Fest for the last three years.

“Isa likes the face painting,” she said.

When asked what she liked, Rylei said her favorite thing was “the ones who break the rocks,” a reference to the G Force Power Team.

Chance Ross, of Parkersburg, said his favorite thing was the first thing he did, the bottle launch.

“It’s the first thing, but I haven’t gotten to everything,” he said.

Tracy McBrayer said though she was aware of the Kids Fest, Saturday was the first time her family made it to City Park.

“We knew about it, but we never came because we did not have the time before,” she said.