Families, vendors and artistic performances were collected under one roof for the 20th anniversary of the Summer Fun Kids Day, Saturday, at the Houma/Terrebonne Civic Center.
Groups of children performed on stage, as others moved from one game to another. For 6 hours, 60 different vendors and service providers hawked their businesses in the bazaar like atmosphere: these included bounce houses, martial arts lessons, art groups, dance and theater organizations, law enforcement groups, and even the Terrebonne Parish Library.
“It’s a community event,” said Scott Belanger, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Houma Terrebonne Civic Center. “A way to showcase things for children to do in the area.”
Busily moving along with his hands full, Belanger briefly paused to motion at a Summer Fun Kids Day poster from 2000 which portrayed a young Hunter Hayes.
“That’s Hunter Hayes. He’s like a country music artist that’s probably our age,” Belanger said. “That’s when he started off. We actually contacted him to book him for a concert - it’s like $200 grand.”
With that, Belanger opened the door and stepped from the offices to the main floor. He quickly said his goodbyes and disappeared into the crowd.
Cartoon-ish mascots of every shape and size entertained children and drew attention to their booths, while colorful posters and smiling vendors also competed for views. Many of the vendors had games to play such as whack-a-mole or sack tossing, but one of the more unique games was at Tiger-Rock Martial Arts.
“We’re going to set up an agility course, and we’re gonna have competition all day long,” William Cothren said. “The top three people will receive membership to the school.”
Cothren is the owner of the Houma and Destrehan Tiger Rock Gyms. He said he has held a booth at each Kids Day event after the first, and has watched the event grow.
“It’s a lot bigger now and a lot more exciting than the first year I came,” said Cothren.
He described it as one of the school’s “main events” and said it was good for recruiting students - so much so that at this event he had 3 booths. As he spoke his student Joshua Parfait, a 2nd degree, level 3, Black Belt, was practicing his form in preparation for the school’s on-stage demonstration.
Not far away, the Terrebonne Public Library had a booth with Kati Callais the Services and Community Coordinator, seated, handing out coloring sheets and brochures which detailed upcoming events. She was also informing the public that children with overdue fees could now work off their fees by reading.
Less animated than other booths, Callais explained that usually she and two others and they’d where costumes, but the library was hosting a “Stranger Things” event the same day, intended for adults, and the other two were prepping for it.
Stranger Things is an 80’s themed science fiction horror television show.
Adjacent to the library’s booth, Friends of the Terrebonne Animal Shelter, a nonprofit organization was attracting people to dogs and kittens from the Terrebonne animal shelter. Rachel Brunet said that none of the pets could be adopted directly from the event, but she was sure the efforts had garnered 2 a good home so far.
Center stage, Inspired to Dance, a local dance team performed. When finished Alannah Breaux, 11, a member of the team came down and excitedly met with her family. She said she enjoyed the two numbers she performed, “Blessings,” and “Where you Belong.”
As she spoke, the Margo Battaglia Studio of Danse took the stage and began performing an interpretation of The Wizard of Oz called “Journey Thru Oz” which drew much of the crowds attention. The performance followed a traditional story of the play, but replaced the musical portions with modern day music.
After experiencing many of the stands, Uriah Freeman and his mother Samantha Matherne, along with their friends Brittany Leblanc and Hadley Loupe were exiting the event.
Freeman and Hadley each had balloons, one shaped as a sword and one a poodle, said they had fun on the inflatables and toys. Samantha and Brittany, who had bags of their own full of coupons, said that while there was more for the kids to do last year, it was fun and worth the drive from Lockport.