St. Matthews Episcopal benefit brings kids to art

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Many area festivals this month have a plot of land set aside for kids, but St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Houma organizes an annual seven-hour event strictly for the children.

Just Kids at Art, a fundraiser for the church’s school, returns for its 23rd year, offering arts and crafts booths and projects, a pumpkin patch and the event’s calling card: egg shells filled with confetti, which are purchased and then cracked over the heads of friends, parents and, even, teachers.

“They are a fan favorite amongst the children,” said Joellen Marcel, a parent of children at the school and one of the event’s organizers. “We never have enough eggs.”

Marcel estimated that the 1,000 eggs on hand last year sold out within the event’s first two hours.Luckily for the late-arrivers, the arts and crafts booths similarly combine engagement with fun.

“We are bringing back the pirate booth by popular demand,” Marcel said. “Kids can come in and get a pirate patch and bandana and have their face painted.”

Children can also decorate picture frames, create clay pots and arrange mosaic tiles, among other activities.

Jambalaya, pizza and food from Chick-fil-A are served, and a water-splash area.Toddlers have their own area, featuring building blocks, face painting and a bounce house.

Admission is free, but many of the booths require tickets, usually between $1 and $4 worth, Marcel said.

“It is a fantastic event for school-aged children to try different crafts,” Marcel said. “I think it primarily introduces them into being part of their community, and in turn, it’s a good event for them to come out, enjoy some fun arts and crafts.”

Just Kids at Art is known for its confetti-filled eggs, which children take joy in cracking atop adults’ heads.