Hundreds of parents and kids flood the gymnasium at Mt. Blue High School on Saturday, Feb. 17, for the Children’s Festival. Games, activities and books were all available for kids and parents to enjoy. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Children’s Task Force annual Children’s Festival saw a huge turnout on Saturday, Feb. 17, with hundreds flocking to the event to share in balloon animals, snacks, and information on how to stay safe.

Over 30 organizations participated in the events, featuring booths from the Jay-Niles Memorial Library, Sweatt-Winter Early Childcare Center, Western Maine Play Museum, and Franklin Pediatrics to name a few.

Several emergency responders were also present, with David Ballard and Cody Jarels of the Farmington Fire Rescue Department demonstrating to kids the proper form and technique on how to hold a fire extinguisher to put out fire. As guests walked in, the Livermore Falls Fire Department had their fire engine parked outside to let kids take a peek and have a seat.

David Ballard of the Farmington Fire Rescue Department shows kids how to aim a fire extinguisher at the Children’s Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17. The department had a fake fire set up that would be “extinguished” when the kids pointed the fire extinguisher and pretended to spray the fire. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Right next to them was the Wilton Police Department, who brought out McGruff the Crime Dog to help show kids how to take a bite out of crime and hand out Safe Kids ID Kits. Next to Wilton was the Farmington Police Department, where Officer Ariana Bacon handed out badges and other items to kids.

Dozens of booths were set up to show parents and kids what each organization has to offer the community. Walter Fails of Troop 546 shared information about what the scouts have to offer, while Franklin Pediatrics brought hula hoops and set up hopscotch for the kids.

Lyra Lopez, left, and her brother Orion Lopez, right, play with trains at the Western Maine Play Museum’s booth at the Children’s Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Right over in the center of the basketball court, Western Maine Play Museum had a train set up for kids to play with. Program Director Stephanie Marcotte, who recently took on the role for the organization, hopes to see more events like this in the future.


As parents and children left the gymnasium, they were met with several different options. Over in the food court pizza, popcorn, juice, coffee, water, and chips were offered for only a dollar, with Narrow Gauge Cinema supplying the popcorn.

Ricky Merrill of Jay makes a sword out of balloons for a young boy at the Children’s Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Across from the food court, Ricky Merrill of Jay had a station set up to make balloon animals for the kids. The line was long, but Merrill was quick with his hands as he folded a balloon into a sword for a young boy.

Other crafts, such as face painting, were also available for the kids to enjoy. One boy, Porter Dustin, had a dinosaur painted on his face, which prompted him to give the biggest roar he could. According to his mother, Dustin is in the Foster Career and Technical Center preschool program and will even correct people on the proper names of dinosaurs at just three years old.

Porter Dustin, age 3, give his best roar to the camera as he plays with toy dinosaurs at the Children’s Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Over in the Forum, families got to see The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office give a K-9 demonstration, followed by Mr. Drew and His Animals Too of Lewiston.

Over on the other side of the building a room dedicated to gross motor skill activities, such as skipping and running was covered in padding for kids to get their energy out. Parents were required to be with their kids at all times while in the area.

Franklin County Children’s Task Force thanked all those who attended the event on the Facebook page stating, “Our deepest thanks to all the families, agencies, volunteers, and staff that made this day possible!”

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