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Fun Fest event is all about the kids

July 15th, 2014 11:38 pm by LURAH LOWERY

Fun Fest event is all about the kids

Joanne Batten tries her hand at milking a cow Tuesday. David Grace photo.

For a photo gallery from the event, click here.

Despite rain, Kids Central still saw a great turnout Tuesday. Children enjoyed inflatables, face painting, train rides, Fun Shops, Xtreme Challenge, Days Gone By, Kidstruction Zone, a balloon toss game and more.

The first day of Kids Central on Monday saw close to 1,000 attendees. The event is free and no registration is required, but tickets are required for Fun Shops, which are limited to 10 to 15 children per session.

The five Fun Shops held on Tuesday were by Home Depot, Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia, Kindermusik, Micheal's and Grace Martial Arts & Fitness, LLC.

Barter Theatre Youth Academy and LampLight Theatre conducted Fun Shops on Monday.

A popular part of Kids Central on Tuesday that packed the auditorium of Andrew Johnson Elementary School was Joseph Young's Amazing Magic Show, which was sponsored by Kingsport Public Library.

Young's show included comedy in addition to magic. The award-winning magician filled the show with jokes and tricks that made the audience cheer, laugh and clap.

Among many other acts, the show included an act with Rubik's cubes and the appearance of Young's rabbit, Sophie May, who was pulled out of a hat and a box. Other tricks included audience participation.

Children were allowed to pet Sophie May and speak to Young after the show.

Ryan Ausborne, 9, was one of the four participants in the magic show. Young put a prop tuxedo on Ausborne then stuck his arms through the sleeves and conducted magic tricks.

"It was fun," Ausborne said. "I got a fake hundred dollar bill. I saw the tricks so I know how he did it. It was funny."

Xtreme Challenge by Indian Path Medical Center has been a popular part of Kids Central as well, with 400 participants on Monday.

"It's four activities that promote activity, movement and getting youth to not be sitting on the couch," said Tessa Malone, director of Xtreme Challenge.

The four activities are corn hole, soccer shuttle run, an obstacle course and a long jump. Children who participate are given an Xtreme Challenge Passport. Points are tallied at each activity, and when the card is turned in a prize is received. The event will take place during Kids Central again today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Days Gone By at Kids Central includes games and activities from days past that most children aren't aware of before participating. Activities included a marble run, Lincoln Logs, puzzles, corn hole, a kitchen area, marionette dolls, pin the tail on the donkey and a wooden car station.

"It's definitely meant to be more interactive and more imaginative," said Julia DeGreen, who helped with the event. "Kids are loving it."

Concessions were provided by area high school bands. Several businesses and organizations provided activities and free merchandise for families at Kids Central. Those included Frontier Health; Credit Central, LLC; Kingsport Fire Department; Panera Bread, TVA Credit Union; Sullivan County Regional Health Department; Hands On! Regional Museum; Mountain States Medical Group Pediatrics; Grace Martial Arts & Fitness, LLC; Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tri-Cities; Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen; Bays Mountain Park; In Home Tennessee and Niswonger Children's Hospital. A Baby Rest Stop was also provided by BABE Breastfeeding Coalition of Northeast Tennessee.

Seven-year-old Katlyne Ketron had her face painted to look like Hello Kitty. She attended the magic show, which she loved, and was looking forward to riding the train. Ketron was also looking forward to the Splash Dance, which will be held today from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

"They shut down the main part of the event around lunchtime and shut down the street outside of Andrew Johnson Elementary," said Joanna Swinehart, Kids Central chairperson. "The Kingsport Fire Department sets up a fire truck and it's basically just mass chaos of water. They spray everyone down with the hoses on the fire trucks."

Fun with Ronald McDonald will also take place today at 11 a.m. as part of the third day of Kids Central.

The event is presented by Niswonger Children's Hospital.

"We're just really appreciative of all the organizations and the businesses that make this happen every year," Swinehart said. "We see families year after year come and they take full advantage of it."

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