ESCANABA - The Daily Press Children's Back-to-School Health Fair will kick off Sunday, Aug. 5. The free event with games, prizes, and demonstrations for children and teens will be held at the Northern Lights YMCA in Escanaba from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Now in its third year, the Children's Back-to-School Health Fair started off with a simple mission. "We were looking for a way to promote the fact that in the year 2010 there was new regulations for seventh grade students," said Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald. "Basically, when they normally wouldn't need any immunizations they now needed immunizations."
The fair still offers immunizations through Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties at a reduced rate, but the event has grown into a massive event with games, activities, and contests for children and teens. All other activities are completely free.
"We have a program where each kid when they come in gets a packet. In their packet is a report card," said McDonald. "They have to go booth to booth to booth and when they go through each booth it gets checked off. If their report card gets all the way filled out it's put in a drawing."
This year's report card drawing is for an iPad 2. Monday morning the drawing will be broadcast on The Eagle 107.3. The Eagle will also be doing a live remote broadcast at the event throughout the day.
Parents who attend can be entered into a drawing for dinner for two at the Terrace Bay Inn.
Kids will be able to sing big screen karaoke. Singers will have their image projected on a 15-foot screen. "This is going to be the first event of the day, starting at roughly 11:30 and we're going to run that until 1 o'clock," said Ann Troutman, Daily Press advertising manger. "At 1 o'clock we'll award first, second, and third place who will all win a karaoke machine."
AAA Driving School will be holding a distracted driving test. Kids will run a golf cart through an obstacle course and then re-run the course while texting. "You'd be graded on how you did to show you why you shouldn't be texting while you're driving," said McDonald.
Younger children can also get behind the wheel with a Power Wheels obstacle course. When kids complete the course they will receive a "driver's license" which can be entered into a drawing for one of two Power Wheels cars. One girl and one boy will be chosen.
A free lunch will be provided. Cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pizzas will be cooked onsite by Papa Murphy's and Bink's Coca-Cola will be providing drinks.
Throughout the day there will be activities to keep kids moving. "The YMCA, in conjunction with Northern Motors, is going to be running a soccer challenge, which will be running all day long with the winner being announced at 3 o'clock," said Troutman.
Other physical activities will include Zumba, musical hula hoops, limbo, Simon says, a free-throw contest, and an obstacle course. There will also be face painting, a presentation by Raptor Rehab, and a nutritional taste test presented by Elmer's County Market and OSF St. Francis Hospital.
Local police officers will be giving rides in squad cars and the the fire department smokehouse will be available to teach kids how to navigate a home filled with smoke.
The Michigan Child ID Program - Michigan Masons will be onsite creating child identification packages which parents can use if their child goes missing. The whole process takes about 15 minutes and includes dental impressions, DNA, dog scenting, digital fingerprints, a photo, and a video used to capture the child's mannerisms and voice.
"What other event can you take your kids to that has all these events going on, and it's absolutely free?" said McDonald.
Major sponsors of the Back-to-School-Fair are the Daily Press, Elmer's County Market, EMP, the National Guard, Marquette General, Papa Murphy's, the Northern Lights YMCA, and OSF St. Francis Hospital.
Other sponsors who will be present at the event include Delta County Credit Union, Dickinson County Heathcare, Escanaba SDA Christian School, Gladstone Eye Care, Halbinsel Volkswagen Mazda, HealthQuest, Holy Name Catholic School, Marquette General Health Systems, the Michigan National Guard, Peninsula Federal Credit Union, Positively, and UPPCO.