PLAINFIELD – Schools were closed Monday for Presidents Day – except for Troy Middle School, where parents went with their children for a day of fun and learning.
Mary Ann Rupp of Plainfield was among the many parents who went to the school for the second annual Kids’ Fair, an event where state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, and dozens of organizations partner to provide information and activities for families.
The information offered at the free event encompassed a range of topics, including education, counseling, health and public safety.
Rupp’s sons were participating in an arts and crafts activity at the Michaels booth.
“So far, it’s good. They enjoy it,” she said, noting she received at the fair a lot of information on activities for her children.
Businesses and groups such as TM Martial Arts, Physicians Immediate Care, the C.W. Avery YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will & Grundy Counties had their own booths at the Kids’ Fair.
“It keeps the kids busy while keeping parents informed,” said Kerry Gardner, customer relations specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Gardner was at the organization’s booth with BBBS CEO Mike Trafton, offering information and a miniaturized version of the bean bag toss game.
Bertino-Tarrant said the Kids’ Fair saw a good response last year, and vendors enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their services.
She said her favorite thing about the fair is that it features resources for the community and children.
“Obviously, with my education background, it’s something very near and dear to me,” said Bertino-Tarrant, who is a former superintendent for the Will County Regional Office of Education. “This provides resources for parents, for teachers. It’s fun for the kids.”
Besides the vendors, the Plainfield area Fit4MOM company held a stroller stride class. The company offers fitness classes for every stage of motherhood, according to its website.
Shorewood-based Mun’s Korean Martial Arts, La Danse Academie and DuPage County Area Project – a private juvenile delinquency prevention organization – gave performances.
The Kendall County Sheriff’s Office was at the Kids’ Fair to give families safety tips and emergency contacts, and to make them aware of programs and services – such as child fingerprinting – to keep them safe.
Tom Banning, an auxiliary deputy with the sheriff’s office, said the deputies want to make sure children are not scared of them.
“We’re there to help them, too,” he said.
A booth for Pilcher Park featured animal fur and a live snake and turtle.
Monce Gomez of Joliet was at the event for the first time and took pictures of her children observing the animals at the booth.
“They got everything here,” she said.