News: Spring is in the fair
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Six-year-old Collin Lake swung back and forth in a wooden boat, accompanied with nine other young children, wearing a huge smile on his face. Swinging past other children waiting in line for their turn aboard the Pirate’s Revenge, he’d already yelled to his mother that he would ride again.
“It’s super high and I like it,” Lake said.
In fact, for him, it was the best part about the Spring Fair at the Kulia Youth Center, April 5, 2014.
More than 900 attendees came through the white gates of the makeshift fairgrounds, a large amount considering the usual size of the Marine Corps Community Services events aboard the base, according to Morgan Poppler, the assistant director of the Kulia Youth Center.
“Thankfully the weather cooperated and we had a beautiful day,” Poppler said. “The families that made it out this year seemed to be enjoying the fun atmosphere and a break from the rain we’ve been having lately.”
Volunteers and MCCS staff manned booths, games and rides, sporting bright yellow shirts. Parents had access to resource tables while attending the fair, and could chat with representatives from various organizations. In the spirit of Easter, children could have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.
Many families were attending the fair for the first time, like the Croak family, who arrived at Marine Corps Base Hawaii nearly a month ago. Cpl. Daniel Croak, a squad leader with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, said they came to the fair for the opportunity to mingle with other families.
“It seems very interactive here,” Croak said. “All the families seem very loving and everybody seems to get along well. Doing stuff like this keeps up morale with (service members) and also with their families, so it works out well.”
Children of varying ages could also hunt for colorful eggs, like 4-year-old Leila Kenny, who could hardly keep her pink bag closed with her large haul.
Some children played with bath toys in sudsy water, while others chased bubbles downfield. Families had the chance to visit with live animals at the fair, including rabbits, turtles and parakeets.
“One (bird) went (up) my arm,” exclaimed Matthew Beam, 5. “They climb!”
Beneath one of the tents at the fair, children could decorate tiny starter pots, fill them with soil and plant a flower seed.
“We wanted to do something different with our arts and crafts this year,” Poppler said. “What better than a project that not only touches on new growth during the spring but also something that is eco-conscious.”
Many children tried their luck at fair themed games, from beanbag tossing to retrieving rubber duckies. Natalee McRae, 8, took home two bouncy balls and a temporary tattoo. She said children should come to the fair because it’s fun. She, like Beam and Lake, also enjoyed the Pirate’s Revenge ride the most out of the entire fair.
As summer approaches, MCB Hawaii children can look forward to a day of water play at the annual Summer Splashdown, scheduled July 26 from 10 a.m. to noon.
“It’s our hope that Summer Splashdown, which is just a few short months away now, turns out to be as entertaining and well attended as Spring Fair today was,” Poppler said.
For more information about the next family event MCCS has in store, call 257-2030, or visit www.mccshawaii.com.