Annual Healthy Family Fair was a crowd pleaser

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ The 12th annual Healthy Family Fair, presented by Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) was held Saturday at the Marshalltown Mall. Over 30 local agencies were in attendance, offering resources on educational, health, safety, development and general well-being for families with kids prenatal to preschool. Pictured is Tina Nelson, left, from Central Iowa Healthcare, handing out resources and stickers.

Saturday at the Marshalltown Mall, the 12th annual Healthy Family Fair, presented by Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS), offered educational, safety and health resources for families with children prenatal to preschool — plus fun activities for the kiddos.

Over 30 area groups and agencies had booths set up in the center of the mall, handing out information about their services, as well as offering either a snack, prize or activity or game for youngsters.

“We had a great turnout,” said Nikki Hartwig of CAPS. “The kids especially loved getting their pictures taken with Star Wars characters, and the Iowa State University Insect Zoo was very hands-on.”

The fair, which was free and open to the public, offered face painting, Zumba, storytelling, a magic show, an obstacle course (sponsored by Marshalltown Parks and Recreation) and visits by Dora the Explorer, Diego, Star Wars characters, Iowa State University’s Cy mascot, Herky the Hawk and Marshalltown Community College’s tiger mascot.

Representatives from Marshalltown area preschools got children registered for school. The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department provided a car seat safety demonstration, while the Marshalltown Police Department participated in “Operation Safe Kids” taking children’s fingerprints to be stored electronically.

“We’ve been busy making shapes with Play-Doh, even the parents have enjoyed it,” said Central Iowa Art Association (CIAA) Office Manager Katelyn Zatovich, who helped run an art-themed booth promoting the CIAA’s kids’ programs.

Other organizations in attendance included Youth & Shelter Services, LUNA, the Marshalltown Public Library, Hy-Vee, the Animal Rescue League, MICA, Central Iowa Healthcare, ISU Extension and more.

The first 100 families took home a free thermometer from the McFarland Clinic, and another 100 families got a first aid kit from the Amerigroup. Every child was gifted a free, age-appropriate book.

“Even though it was very cold out and we had some snow, it didn’t affect turnout,” Hartwig said.

To learn more about the fair, contact CAPS at 641-752-1730.