More than 800 attend St. Elizabeth Kid Fest

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Gage and Slade McDaniel

The misty weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the more than 800 children and adults who attended St. Elizabeth Hospital and Physicians Kid Fest held this past Saturday, September 13. The event, which was held at the Ascension Gym at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, boasted a number of free screenings for children including balance testing along with interactive learning about such topics as nutrition and healthy living, the importance of proper hand washing, fire safety and more.

“This year’s Kids Fest exceeded our expectations with regard to attendance both from the vendor perspective and from community participation.  It was so busy through the four-hour event, I’m not sure we could have fit more people into the space we had,” said Jacob Balfantz, Event Coordinator. 

On the inside, there was an entertainment area which featured dancing from Lori’s School of Dance, karate demonstrations from students of PKSA School of Karate, as well as local youth vocal talent, and a children’s yoga demonstration among others.  Outside, there was a bike rodeo promoting bike safety presented by the Ascension Health and Nutrition Alliance, along with a bike helmet give away sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.  You could hear the laughter and the occasional scream of the children trying their hands at one of the two hamster balls, the rock climbing wall and one of several bounce houses. 

Throughout the event, there was a steady flow of “patients” in the waiting room of the Teddy Bear Clinic where children brought their stuffed animals and dolls for a “check-up” by one of the St. Elizabeth Physicians pediatricians.  Every booth of the event offered some take home item and there was lots of food and drink to add to the festivities. 

“We are particularly grateful to our sponsors,” said Balfantz.  “Without their support, we would be unable to hold this event.”  Kids Fest sponsors were: AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Dawn Lundin Child and Adolescent Counseling, Rotolo’s Pizzeria, LakeUrgentCare, Baton Rouge Physical Therapy*Lake, EATEL, Smith Chiropractic and Malco Theatres.

“We sincerely hope that all who attended this year’s event enjoyed it,” said Balfantz.  “For those who weren’t able to attend, we hope to see you at next year’s event.”