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Families Join In Sunday Fun Day
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Escalon Masonic Lodge member Doug Alcorn works the Child Safety station at the Family Fun Day on Sunday, fingerprinting Sebastian Tafolla, 7, of Oakdale. Sponsored by the Oak Valley Hospital District’s Family Support Network, the event drew a crowd to the plaza and community center. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Leader
From its beginnings on the lawn area outside Oak Valley Hospital many years ago to the current location at the Bianchi Community Center and adjoining plaza, the annual Family Fun Day just keeps growing and getting better.
Offered through the hospital’s Family Support Network, the event brings together a variety of health care professionals, entertainers, crafts for kids and more, with lots of information and handouts as well.
“It is such a family affair,” agreed Family Support Network Director Karen O’Bannon. “It really is going strong and we keep some of the things that are tried and true.”
Some of those are the kids’ activities, from bubbles to sand play to arts and crafts projects and the popular ‘fruit satellites’ where they use toothpicks as skewers for small fruit bits and cheese, putting the toothpicks into an apple.
For the past few years, the event has utilized the Bianchi Community Center on South Second Avenue for setting up information tables inside, while outside features music, displays and the kids’ activities.
Among those booths set up inside this year, the Health Plan of San Joaquin, Red Cross, Oakdale Police, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and DMC Foundation, among others. Outside, the Lion’s Eyemobile offered free vision and hearing checks, Oakdale city firefighters and police officers were there with vehicles and information, along with Oak Valley Ambulance personnel. There was a book giveaway, a live radio broadcast by KHOP 95.1 and face painting, along with several prize drawings, with some four dozen items donated by local merchants.
O’Bannon said not only was she glad to see community residents turn out to get information and spend an enjoyable day together, she was also excited by the number of volunteers. While some were from local churches and scout groups, many came from the ranks of the Family Support Network program participants.
“All of our groups are represented by at least one volunteer,” O’Bannon explained. “And husbands and kids of almost every employee are here helping out.”
Everyone that attended had the chance to pick up a ‘welcome’ bag with information and small giveaway items and a popular stop was the Center for Human Services’ display that featured PC the Robot Car, which interacts with children.
“This is what I love to see so much,” O’Bannon summarized. “People who come to us for services … turn right around and give back, get involved and they get to be a part of something fun.”