• From left: Entranced by Ooblick, Keyara Philpot, 8, and Briza Hernandez, 9, find it difficult to leave the Rose Barracks School Age Center booth. Ooblick, which is made with corn starch, water and little food coloring, makes for a peculiar sensation. "It felt like it was glue when you put it on your hands and when you open up your hands like water," explained Hernandez.

    Getting your hands dirty

    From left: Entranced by Ooblick, Keyara Philpot, 8, and Briza Hernandez, 9, find it difficult to leave the Rose Barracks School Age Center booth. Ooblick, which is made with corn starch, water and little food coloring, makes for a peculiar sensation...

  • Alex and Abby Deem, ages 8 and 7, show off their face paint.

    Pretty faces

    Alex and Abby Deem, ages 8 and 7, show off their face paint.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Kinderfest, Grafenwoehr's annual blowout honoring the Month of the Military Child, surpassed expectations during this year's event, April 28.

Lana Muzzy, director of Outreach Services for Child, Youth and School Services, and the woman behind the day's magic, insisted that although Kinderfest is always a success, this year's event enjoyed a boost of attendance and better overall organization.

"This year was one of the best because of the large facilities, more marketing and good weather," she said. "We had a lot of families."

In fact, roughly 600 visitors poured into Grafenwoehr Field House in order to visit booths sponsored by community organizations to play games, get their faces painted, show off their artistic abilities and win prizes.

With this year's theme of "Go Green," Kinderfest activities largely focused on the environment and nature. Children received bookmarks made from old cereal boxes, excavated special rocks from mounds of sand and crafted butterflies from coffee filters and clothespins.
The recycling branch of the Directorate of Public Works, however, outshone them all with its conservation-centric activities and dedication to the green message.

They made recycling fun by pitting children against each other to see who could sort a bag filled with a newspaper, plastic and other recyclable materials into their respective bins first. Each competitor then received a small flag touting recycling before moving on to take a quiz on conservationism. Finally, the children could redeem their flags for small toys and prizes, rewarding them for all their hard work.

While they sought to inform participants, DPW remained one of the most popular booths among children, who would crowd around yelling instructions as their peers struggled to sort their recyclables.

"We try to educate them at a young age so they can go home and teach their parents," said Helmut Mueller, waste management official.

Each organization represented at Kinderfest played-off their expertise when crafting their activities. Children queued up to get their fingerprints taken by the military police while the dental clinic showed participants proper brushing technique on alligator teeth. The Boy Scouts helped youngsters fish for lollipops by attaching the candy to the ends of fishing poles and, outside, the Grafenwoehr Fire Department helped kids with tiny fire hoses aim streams of water through the windows of a miniature burning building.

Other stations such as the balloon animals, professional level face painting and a bouncy house simply focused on having fun.

For the parents, Kinderfest offered a welcome reprieve from other, unimaginative events geared toward children. Roxanna Parga, mother of two, approved of the "outstanding variety" of activities at the festival.

"Too many people stay stuck on coloring books and movies," she said.

Isaiah Perez, 4, who excelled at the card game "Memory" at the Army Community Service booth and won a sticker as a prize, claimed his favorite part of the day was getting fingerprinted by the military police. Nevertheless, he was proud of his success at the card table.

"My mom didn't help me and I did it right," he said.

Page last updated Mon May 7th, 2012 at 05:26