Community Expo draws hundreds of visitors

ELKINS – Kaylei McBride spun the hula hoop around her waist until it wasn’t much more than a blur, her dyed purple hair bouncing in the air as she moved.

The Elkins Middle School seventh-grader was one of hundreds of area youths who enjoyed the activities at the Community Expo and National Kids Day Saturday at the Elkins Recreation and Event Center. The free event was sponsored by The Inter-Mountain and the Randolph County Family Resource Network. It featured numerous vendors, consisting of local businesses and service organizations, who offered games as well as information to those in attendance.

Games ranged from tic-tac-toe to don’t drop the egg, with other vendor booths offering craft tables and many other activities.

In addition to hula hooping, McBride enjoyed the bounce houses and other activities offered.

“I think it’s pretty fun, and it’s great how they’re giving information out,” she said.

Amber Taylor of Mill Creek said the event was a great way to get children out of the house and moving around.

“I think it’s a really good event for the kids. It’s good for them to have activities like this that also are educational,” she said.

Jessica Busch works with the Safe at Home Program through Genesis Youth Crisis Center to provide services for children in congregate care. The program was one of the many vendors at the event. She said the Expo was a great way to network with other service agencies in the region.

“I love this event. I think it’s a great way for the community to come see how many support agencies there are in the area, and it’s also great for us to meet people from other agencies,” she said.

Along with the Family Resource Network and Genesis, other agencies present included WIC, Unicare, United Summit Center, Regional Tobacco Prevention, Hospice Care, Legal Aid, Youth Health Service, Women’s Aid in Crisis, Appalachian Wounded Warriors and many others.

In addition to a multitude of events for children and adults, door prizes and raffles were conducted throughout the afternoon. The Inter-Mountain Newspapers in Education Program held a ducky drop, with the winner receiving four tickets to Mountain Rail Adventures and the new Tygart Flier buffet.

Belington Emergency Medical Services and the Elkins Fire Department were on scene showing kids their equipment, including an ambulance and fire trucks. Local racing figure Keith Miller also was present with The Inter-Mountain Race Car to sign autographs.

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton said he was pleased with the event’s turnout, and that organizers chose to hold this year’s event at the Event Center.

“This looks like a good turnout. I’ve seen a lot of youth, and that’s really what we want to see. It’s very educational. I’d just like to thank all the sponsors who came together to make this possible,” he said. “And, once again, it showcases the Event Center and all of the events the facility can be used for.”