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County Family Day a winter winner for participants

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Magic, crafts, a scavenger hunt and free skating were among Family Day holiday activities for a record number attending the Wellington and District Community Centre Monday.

Organized by the municipality, the favourite annual event was made possible by local community partners, including the Rotary Club of Wellington and the Wellington Recreation Committee.

A 45-minute magic show sponsored by the recreation committee was a huge hit with children as magic man Randy Rodgers entertained the large crowd with his cool magic bag of tricks. Along with his magic wand, and a few select magic words, he worked his magic with a number of tricks involving lengths of rope, coloured balls, napkins, colouring books and more. His show created lots of laughter and a few lucky children were pleased to participate in some of the tricks on the magic stage.

A quieter play space for the littlest ones under six years of age could be found in the adjacent Rotary Room, along with a reading area hosted by County Kids Read. The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory had displays of birds and information to share. They also provided guidance on how to make a pine cone bird feeder, taught kids about the importance of birds and the types of birds they may attract.

The all-day event also featured children’s games, whether it was giant floor games or table-top board games, and craft activities, including colouring in the Highline Hall.

Hot soup, in a wide variety of choices, kept everyone fed with at least a dozen local chefs, restaurants and community groups providing free bowlfuls for lunch. Free hot chocolate and cotton candy were also available.

Lisa Lindsay, Manager of Community Centres, Events and Marketing with the municipality, was pleased the partnerships provided a fun-filled free activity day for families in Prince Edward County and for the visitors.”

She noted attendance may well exceed last year when the day welcomed approximately 1,500 people at the community centre for Family Day fun.

Prince Edward OPP were on hand to answer questions and provide child identification kit services.

“It’s an identification kit where kids can get their photographs and their fingerprints,” explained Staff Sergeant John Hatch. “If the parents go away on a trip and a child goes missing, you have a USB that has all their information and just give that over to the police.”

For privacy reasons, none of the information is kept on the laptop, Hatch added.

“There’s only a few in Ontario and we were lucky enough to get it for the day,” said Aaron Miller, Community Safety Officer. “Our first response to a missing person would have a lot of paperwork to get through and obviously that takes time and people are stressed out,” he said. “This answers a lot of our questions; it has their fingerprints, their photograph, it has weight and height, and distinctive marks and all their information along with contacts of a parent or guardian.”

Several dozen families took advantage of the digital fingerprint scanner.

“The kits are deployed where needed or requested, so we were lucky enough to get one from up north,” said Milller. “It’s a detailed piece of equpment because you can see how detailed the fingerprint is, it’s pretty incredible.”

The County’s fire department was also on hand with fire prevention demonstrations and games, as well as lots of free safety reminder items. Sparky the fire safety dog was seen roaming the arena and even on the ice surface, greeting children and parents and posing for photographs.

Also roaming were more than 40 families who participated in the zoo scavenger hunt organized by the recreation committee, where the prize for finding all 12 animal symbols placed throughout the arena was a bag of popcorn for each child.

While most activities were centred inside the arena, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory volunteers could be found at the nearby Wellington docks exploring the local birdlife.

-Janet Elson photo

Volunteers helped families learn to identify many of the swans, ducks and geese that congregate in the harbour during the winter, and helped them get an up-close view of the water fowl with the aid of viewing scopes.

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