The Children's Trust Family Expo Is BackPublished Thursday, April 14, 2011
On Saturday, May 14, children and families from every corner of Miami-Dade County will converge on The Children’s Trust Family Expo, sponsored by Target, for the largest, single, local event of its kind.
The FREE, all-day festival provides parents with direct access to educational, health and social services in a fun and festive atmosphere from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo Center located at 10901 Coral Way in Miami.
Already the largest free resource fair in the region, with record crowds of more than 20,000 in prior years, more than 200 displays are featured in two exhibit halls showcasing information about summer and after-school programs, injury prevention, vaccinations, programs for children with special needs, Pre-K registration, KidCare and much more.
"It feels great to be able to be in one place and see the impact that our investment in children is returning," said Modesto E. Abety, President and CEO of The Children's Trust.
Each hall also offers two stages packed with entertainment, featuring winners of the countywide Young Talent Big Dreams competition, performances by The Actors' Playhouse Musical Miracles, Roxy Theater Group, American Children's Orchestra for Peace and many more performing arts education programs. Children also will delight in face painting; balloon sculptures; stilt walkers; magicians; and character greeting for children to meet Nickelodeon's SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer and Diego.
A special reading corner by the Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership offers storytelling and free books to take home. The Miami Children's Museum will operate a fun-filled arts and crafts area based on their new Mr. Potato Head exhibit; and NEW this year is a "baby and me" structured playtime area for babies and toddlers staffed by the University of Miami's Families First program.
"Everything is great here and very informative," said Tanisha, a mom who attended last year.
Chess tournaments will be held by Stormont Kings; science education will be provided in the Whacky Wild Science Area and Barrington Irving, the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo, is providing aviation simulators for school-age children and youth to test.
Lastly, in the new Expo Greenhouse, teachers in The Education Fund's Plant a Thousand Gardens nutrition initiative will run edible gardening workshops where children will get to transplant their very own vegetable or herb plant and learn about how to grow healthy foods at home. On display will be a sample of the 4x4' raised garden beds used in their school-yard edible garden program, which are also perfect for home use. To further drive home that lesson, Norman Brothers Produce will operate an indoor, fresh produce market to encourage families to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.
Back by popular demand is the indoors Sports Fun Zone featuring T-ball and speed pitching practice in the Florida Marlins tent. Kids also will be able to practice their tennis swing and free throw shot in this action packed area. Outside, there will be rock climbing walls and elaborate bounce houses.
"It's good for the kids, gives people knowledge – it's definitely a positive event," said Walter, a father in attendance last year with his daughter Maya in tow.
The Children's Trust will give away free gifts to the first 2,000 children. Admission, parking, all activities and entertainment are free. Food will be sold by vendors of the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Center.
"In these difficult economic times with so many families in need, an event like this becomes even more important to connect families to valuable services and especially in a fun and entertaining atmosphere that provides families with an opportunity to share quality time together at little or no cost to them," Abety said. "At a time when most corporate sponsorship is diminishing, we are grateful to have significant, continued support from Target to allow us to continue this event."
Media sponsors include The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, momsmiami.com and Univision Radio.
For more information about The Children's Trust Family Expo, visit www.thechildrenstrust.org/events-parents or call 211 The Children's Trust Helpline.
Written by Michael R. Malone