40th Annual Children's Festival Challenges Kids to Learn

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email

Saturday's are usually a time to kick back and relax. But for the thousands of kids and parents who attended the 40th Annual Children's Festival in Wausau, Saturday was a day of learning.

"I think it's cool," 7-year old Grace Barnet told NewsChannel 7.

Parents think it's cool too because it encourages their kids to learn without them even knowing it.

"There's so much to do and so much to learn, maybe something they've never done before. It's a growing experience for them," mom Bobbi Whiting said praising the event.

With more than 20 different activities, the learning just keeps going. From wood working and bean bag toss to arts and crafts, each activity had a lesson. That's exactly what co-founder Byron Barrington wanted. The idea for the Children's Festival actually developed in one of his child psychology classes back in the 1970's.

"It basically had two goals. One was to give the kids activities and things they enjoy and where they'd be actively participating and be sort of in charge of what the activity was. But then also information for parents on child development," Barrington explained.

Even the volunteers are learning. Annie Mora volunteered at Saturday's festival. She is a foreign exchange student from Costa Rica.

"This is a very important way to get to know the people and your customs here," Mora said.

The first festival back in 1973 drew just over 100 people. Today it packs in more than 2,500 kids and parents each year.


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