Mason Clark, left, and Bridger Clark, right, practice their art skills at the Frontier Community Services booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Mason Clark, left, and Bridger Clark, right, practice their art skills at the Frontier Community Services booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Stocking up for school

Kids learn about health and safety while collecting back-to-school swag.

The first ever KidFest, hosted by PCHS at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna on Saturday, provided hundreds of kids and parents the opportunity to stock up on school supplies while also learning valuable lessons about staying healthy and safe. Every kid that participated was given a “report card” that had a list of all the booths stationed throughout the mall. After visiting each booth, participating in a game or learning activity and getting a stamp of approval, the kids could return completed report cards for a backpack full of school supplies. One of the booths was staffed by the PCHS Dental team, and they had a row of sugary drinks like sodas and juices with bags of sugar next to them to highlight how much sugar is in each, as well as a photo of some teeth that were in bad shape because of tooth decay.

“That’s gross,” Sheila Thomsen said while looking at the teeth and the bags of sugar. “I only drink soda every once in a while.”

Thomsen is going into the third grade at Aurora Elementary School. Her mom Jennifer has already been teaching her about the importance of avoiding sugary drinks. Jennifer said that Sheila had heard about KidFest on the radio and expressed excitement about going.

“She listens to the radio more than I do, and one day she said ‘Mom, don’t forget KidFest is coming up!’”

Marquitta Andrus, manager of marketing and outreach for KidFest, said that the turnout for their first year was even better than they expected. Even though Sweeney’s Clothing provided 200 backpacks for the occasion, Andrus said that they were set to run out by about halfway through the day.

From left, American Red Cross volunteers Brenda Chamness, Cindy Rombach, Kathy Heindly and Beth Odom smile for the camera at the Red Cross booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

From left, American Red Cross volunteers Brenda Chamness, Cindy Rombach, Kathy Heindly and Beth Odom smile for the camera at the Red Cross booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Chief Animal Control Officer Jessica Hendrickson, right, teaches Angelica Youngberg about proper animal care at the Kenai Animal Shelter Booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Chief Animal Control Officer Jessica Hendrickson, right, teaches Angelica Youngberg about proper animal care at the Kenai Animal Shelter Booth during KidFest at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

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