|Fall Festival to offer free games and rides|
|Written by Katherine Kussmann Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Friday, 08 October 2010 10:00|
With summer weather a thing of the past, light jackets and changing leaves become a staple this time of year. It is also a time with memories full of carving pumpkins, getting candy and enjoying everything fall has to offer.
The Fall Festival at Miller Park Zoo offers more than just the traditional fall activities. The free event happening on Oct. 9 from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. will have a variety of activities for children and families to participate in.
“There will be hayrack rides, carnival games, a ring toss. They can win candy as prizes. We will have a couple kids’ activity tents with crafts that they can do. They can paint a jack-o-lantern and make apple pie Play-Doh that they can take home,” Jill Eichholz, youth and teen program manager and Fall Festival coordinator, said.
The Fall Festival will also offer a variety of other things for families and children to enjoy. There will be an Upper Limits rock-climbing wall, an inflatable bounce house and an obstacle course will be available to kids as well as a balloon guy and the ‘zoo lady’ who will be painting faces. Also on site will be a hockey shootout and mini golf.
The event is one of the few events being offered by the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts department for free this year.
“We are down to a few events a year since we are taxpayer based. It is something we do to give back to the community and it gives families the opportunity to come out and have a nice time,” Eichholz said.
Steve Fast, marketing manager of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts, agrees the Fall Festival is a great event for families and Bloomington as well.
“The Fall Festival is another great example of the family friendly and affordable quality of life options that we can offer here at the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts department. It is our mission to make Bloomington a very livable city and to maintain the high quality of life we have had here for many years. The Fall Festival is free to everyone and it is important to have affordable family options throughout the year,” he said.
Held at Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, the location has many benefits for holding an event of this size with many activities involved.
“Miller Park Zoo is one of our oldest, largest parks, it is beautiful out there,” Eichholz said. “There is tons of room and it is a really nice setup to be able to do everything we want to offer. There is an indoor facility and outdoor restrooms. We have all that kind of stuff that makes it adequate for a large event like this.”
Being a free event, the festival will be made possible by a number of volunteers. Students from ISU, Illinois Wesleyan University and staff will be on hand to make the event run smoothly.
The Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts department also offer a variety of other fall events coming up that include the Family Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza and the 32nd Annual Turkey Trot Run.
Apart from other events, Fast enjoys being able to provide a quality, fun event and environment for families.
“The ability to have these events and parks that are well-maintained are really what sets Bloomington apart from a lot of similar sized communities throughout the state and country,” he said. “You often times hear people say who come here for work or school that Bloomington is a great place for families. We have been lucky to maintain those standards here.”