Shippensburg University hosted its 41st annual Children’s Fair in Heiges Field House Saturday morning.
The annual event serves as a connection between the university and the wider Shippensburg community.
A variety of campus partners including Student Ambassadors, Greek Life, the Luhrs Center and Residence Hall Association, as well as the Shippensburg Blaskapelle — a local German brass band — came together to make the Children’s Fair run smoothly. Big Red was also on hand to shake hands (well, wings) and take pictures.
“It starts with the student organizations on campus. We want to know who can be here to volunteer, who wants to run a station – all those sorts of things,” said Emily Javitt, associate director for Campus Life. “This is an event that’s really cool because it runs itself, but the work before is crazy because of all those logistical things you have to take care of.”
This year’s theme was “Fairy Tales and Fables.” When families checked in, they received a booklet that included a number of familiar fables like “The Hare and the Tortoise” and a glossary of new words for children to learn.
The 2022 Children’s Fair was animal-themed, and the university organizers look for themes that are both fun and realistic, especially after the “weird” years of Covid, Javitt said.
The more than 750 attendees were also given a “Quest of Color Capital” checklist; as the children interacted with the various stations, they would get color-coded boxes checked and could redeem the completed list for a free children’s book as they left the fair.
“I love seeing the kids and their smiling faces,” said Chloe Lightner, Student Ambassadors Committee leader. “Children’s Fair is always a fun event to help out with.”
The plethora of activities included a bouncy castle, cornhole, soccer, tiara decorating, bowling, giant tic-tac-toe and finger painting. Many of the activities had the children test their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
“I love tic-tac-toe,” said one young girl named Aria, to whom this reporter repeatedly lost.
Outside of Heiges, families were also able to attend one of two showings of “The Children’s Star Show” in the Franklin Science Center planetarium.
“This is an event that really helps with town-and-gown relationships,” Javitt said. “All these people probably live in Shippensburg or the surrounding areas, and having them on campus, letting them see the university, be a part of the university…maybe that will make their kid want to go to Ship someday. We also just really want them to have a good time. Especially on a rainy Saturday in March, it’s something to do. They get to spend a few hours here and just have fun.”