Elmo, games, exhibitors to converge Saturday, Sept. 28, in Eagan
by Tad Johnson
What happens when there’s music, dancing, games and Elmo in one place?
It’s the inaugural KIDSPO Kids & Family Expo on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Eagan Community Center.
The event, organized by Sun This week and Sun Current newspapers, will offer entertainment, activities, food and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More than 60 exhibitors will fill the Community Center along with an entertainment stage, play areas and outdoor activities.
“We think kids and their parents will have a blast at KIDSPO,” said event organizer Krista Jech. “But it’s more than having fun on one day. Our exhibitors will be there to show kids and families how they can be involved in wonderful activities throughout the year.”
One of the goals of KIDSPO is to connect families with the organizations that aim to help them get the most out of life.
From healthy living to active endeavors, KIDSPO exhibitors will be on hand to talk about what they offer.
Exhibitors include Metro Dentalcare and Orthodontic Care Specialists, this year’s title sponsor, which will talk about the importance of oral health and offer a trivia game four times during the day at the main stage.
For details about them and other exhibitors, look inside today’s special section.
The main stage will kick the event off with a bang at 10 a.m. with Apple Valley-based Heartbeat Studios offering a performance by its youth and teen choir.
The following acts on the main stage will be Twin Cities authors Lynn Garthwaite and Gordon Fredrickson.
Bloomington writer Garthwaite will read from one of her Dirkle Smat books at 10:25 a.m. Although Dirkle has a funny name, he’s a serious explorer who takes readers on fantastic journeys.
Lakeville writer Fredrickson will read from “If I Were A Farmer” at 11:15 a.m. using props and projected images about old-time farming days based on Fredrickson’s experiences growing up around Lakeville.
Primrose School of Eagan and Lakeville will lead an interactive music performance at 11:40 a.m. during which children will be invited on stage to help.
The Eagan Fire Department will give a fire prevention education presentation at 12:05 p.m.
Lakeville-based Twin Cities Ballet and Ballet Royale of Minnesota will give a sneak peek of its winter performance of “The Nutcracker” at 12:55 p.m.
Models in the Old Navy Fashion Show will walk across the stage at 1:20 p.m. while Corrina Marie Swiggum, Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen 2013, will serve as the guest emcee. She also will be available for photos during KIDSPO.
An interactive kids activity, which is being sponsored by Park Chrysler Jeep, will be at 2:35 p.m. followed by the Kids Prize Walk at 3 p.m.
The Cataract Lodge of Bloomington, in association with the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, will offer the KidsID Child Safety Program.
It aims to record information about children in an effort to help law enforcement in times of need. The program, which consists of digital fingerprints, voice recording and photo; height and weight information, cheek swab (for DNA), a computer disc and laminated keepsake cards, is being offered during KIDSPO.
Those who have not signed up for the KidsID Child Safety Program at KIDSPO can do so online at kidspo2013.com, clicking on the activities page, and selecting the KidsID Program section. Space is limited.
More information about the program is atmn-masons.org.
Fun and games
Filling the Community Center’s 80,000-square-foot gym will be carnival games, inflatables, iDance, Studio Bodair of Lakeville’s crazy hair, Tiny Diva Princess Party face painting and The Works Museum of Bloomington’s engineering and art activities. Children will have free use of the Community Center’s The Blast play area.
AirMaxx Trampoline Park and Fun Center of Eden Prairie will have its trampoline launch pad just outside the lower level entrance of the Community Center. Kids can leap high in the air while safely strapped into a harness (additional cost, weather permitting).
Gamin’ Ride will offer video games in its outdoor gaming truck as well as iDance in the gym.
Flip Your Lids will offer a safe medieval knight duel using foam padded jousting poles.
There will be lunch and snack options at the Green Mill food booths.
Kids Corner, sponsored by Sesame Street Live, will have activities for young children and Elmo will be reading a story every hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
The first 300 children through the door will each receive a voucher to a performance of Sesame Street Live’s “Make a New Friend,” Jan. 24-26, 2014, at Target Center.
Admission to KIDSPO is free, but some activities will require tickets or unlimited play wristbands. Wristbands can be purchased in advance for $7 by going online to kidspo2013.com until Sept. 27 or $10 at the door.
KIDSPO is seeking volunteers to help with some of the activities.
“This is a great opportunity for students looking to earn some volunteer hours,” Jech said.
Volunteers receive a free T-shirt and a $5 Green Mill voucher for lunch at the event.
To see a list of activities available, click on the volunteer link at kidspo2013.com.
A planning group has been gearing up for KIDSPO after coming up with the idea nearly a year ago.
“KIDSPO wouldn’t be possible without the support of its sponsors,” Jech said. “They have been great partners in helping to put on this event that will bring together people from throughout Dakota County and beyond for a great time.”
Gold sponsors: Park Chrysler Jeep of Burnsville and Primrose Schools of Eagan and Lakeville.
Silver sponsors: Christian Heritage Academy, Ballet Royale and Twin Cities Ballet Minnesota, US Federal Credit Union, Fairview Hospitals & Clinics, Thoroughbred Carpet & Floors, Hirshfield’s, Glowing Hearth & Home and Savers Unique Thrift Store.
The Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Parkway, is located off Pilot Knob Road between Interstate 494 and Interstate 35E.
Contact Tad Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org