Children’s Fair gives children opportunity to build bridges

Heiges Field House was filled with children Saturday.

Shippensburg University’s Heiges Field House overflowed with frolicking children of all ages for SU’s 34th annual children’s fair and egg hunt Saturday morning. 

The event was sponsored by Target and SU’s First Year Career Experience and Community Engagement program, which aims to bridge the community and the campus. 

Children’s laughter and the sound of squeaky sneakers on the gym floor filled the arena as Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” played in the background of the fair. 

“Bum! Bum! Bum!” adults and children crooned along as the Shippensburg Town Band opened for the Shippensburg Area Middle School 6th grade Jazz Band. 

Community members were freely admitted, exploring the 48 booths operated by student organizations, Greek life and local businesses and organizations. Children engaged in unique activities like connect four, milk-can toss, bean bag toss, and could even get an immediate lesson with a member of SU’s NCAA Division II National Championship field hockey team. 

Education Professor Dawn Manetta talked about how participating in the fair children serve as the connector for SU and the local community. 

“I think it’s important the university community offers these experiences to families,” Manetta said. “It builds relationships and puts children in the center.”

Face painting, balloon animals, blow ups and food were present to entertain children, and a photobooth came in handy for pictures with Big Red and Disney princesses Elsa and Anna from the SU Children’s Theatre. The gym emptied out as children and parents crossed the street to enter ShipRec for the egg hunt. 

An assortment of pastel plastic eggs full of candy, Twizzlers and Laffy Taffy were scattered across three basketball courts coordinated by age. The 3 year olds and under hunted first, with some waddling to collect their loot and others sitting and receiving treats. 

 In the next two courts, the older children waited in anticipation with their buckets, preparing to sort through the special bags that spelled out “SU” in hopes of finding the individual bags with a note that indicate a special prize. 

Large baskets full of treats were given out to those who found the special bags, and the courts were opened to all ages to pick up the remaining candy. The floors were bare as children left ShipRec with a combination of goodies after a full day of playing and learning at SU. 

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