Fall Harvest Festival fun
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent November 14, 2012 5:22PM
"Twinkles" Dawn Worthington, of Gary, makes a balloon pet during the Fall Harvest Festival held at Gary City Hall. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2012 11:30AM
The calendar date read Oct. 31, but there was nothing spooky or scary going on at the Fall Harvest Festival inside Gary City Hall.
Children in costumes entered the west front doors of the municipal building and were greeted by high-school student volunteers from Thea Bowman Leadership Academy who had tables of games and treats waiting for them.
If the children guests won a game, they received a piece of candy. Then, as they headed to the public information desk in the center of the hallway, they received healthy treats from the city’s department of recycling and a bag of candy.
They also received an opportunity to go upstairs and try to Hula Hoop for candy. Thea Bowman juniors Justin King and Phyliss Jacoh, both 16, were the Hula Hoop challengers.
“This is my first time volunteering at something like this,” Jacoh said. “I like helping out when it involves kids and this is a great opportunity.”
King agreed. “I am always trying to help out in the community,” he said.
Thea Bowman basketball coach Marvin Rea said he brought 24 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors to volunteer at the Fall Harvest Festival.
“I have members of the basketball team and cheerleaders helping out. This is an opportunity for them to be involved in something outside of academics and sports. Volunteering allows them to do a service in the community and learn leadership skills,” Rea said.
Chelsea Whittington, city of Gary director of communications, said the Fall Harvest Festival is a fun and educational event for youth.
“This is also a safe haven for the children to have fun. We have members of the Gary Police Department here to make sure everything goes well and plenty of activities for the children,” she said.
The event was sponsored by various city departments including the Health Department, recycling office, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Kool Smiles and the Gary Fire Department, which brought out the mobile Fire Safety House to teach children fire prevention and safety tips.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the festival highlights environmental education and other topics children should know as early as possible.
Kayla Williams, 8, of Gary, wore a purple and black witch costume.
“I love the festival because it is fun and interesting and I get to do a lot of stuff,” she said.