ESCANABA - The school year is fast approaching and that means it is time for children and parents to prepare with the Daily Press Children's Back-to-School and Health Fair.
The event, which is free for children and their families, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in the Ruth Butler Building. While the Health Fair has been held at the YMCA in the past, the Daily Press decided to move the event back to its original location at the fairgrounds because of the protection from inclement weather that the Ruth Butler Building provides.
This is the fourth year for the event, which started out as a way to inform families about new immunization requirements.
"It's been a growing event over the past couple of years. Last year we had approximately 1,000 people come through," said Daily Press Advertising Manager Ann Troutman.
Even though the event has grown to more than 25 sponsors presenting information, demonstrations, and fun activities for children, immunizations are still an important part of the Health Fair.
"(Public Health Delta Menominee Counties) will be doing immunizations at a discounted price, and parents can also bring their children to that booth because they will tell them what immunizations their children are missing," said Troutman, adding there is no cost for parents to check their children's immunization records at the booth.
Many of the programs offered at the Children's Back-to-School and Health Fair are aimed at keeping children safe.
Delta Masonic Lodge 195 and Gladstone Masonic Lodge 396 will be providing families with the Michigan Child Identification Program. Families who complete the free program will leave with packets including dental impressions and a CD containing a photo, video, digital fingerprints, and the child's vital information - information that can be used to issue an Amber Alert.
Other safety programs and demonstrations will also be available at the Health Fair including a smoke house presented by the Ford River Volunteer Fire Department and demonstrations by the Escanaba Public Safety K-9 Unit, Delta County Sheriff's Department, and the Michigan State Police.
Being physically active and staying healthy is another important message of the Health Fair. Northern Lights YMCA will be on hand giving Zumba demonstrations, and other booths and activities will have kids moving.
"This is a very good event for the kids in preparation for heading back to school and making sure they have all the information, tools they need, and immunizations they should have - and making it a fun day in the process," said Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald.
Children and parents who get hungry at the event can grab a free slice of pizza provided by Papa Murphy's.
In addition to information and prizes handed out at individual sponsor booths, children and their parents will also have opportunities to take home bigger prizes through competitions and raffles.
This year the Daily Press will be hosting a trivia contest where winners will receive retail gift cards; a driving course using battery-powered, ride-on cars that will be raffled off to participating children; and the new Cherry Bowl Pit Spit, a contest where football players from area schools will spit cherry pits to compete for money for their athletic programs and school fan clubs.
Returning this year are "report cards." These cards are given to children at the Health Fair and are stamped at each booth at the fair. Once the card has been filled out, it is placed into a drawing for an iPad. The cards will also be used in a second drawing where parents can win a free dinner for two.
A live remote broadcast of the Health Fair will provided by the Eagle 107.3
Major sponsors of the Children's Back-to-School Health Fair are the Daily Press, The Eagle 107.3, Northern Lights YMCA, OSF St. Francis Hospital, Papa Murphy's, and EMP.
Other sponsors who will be present at the event include Delta County Credit Union, Holy Name Catholic School, the Escanaba Public Library, Health Quest, Peninsula Federal Credit Union, SDA Christian School, Binks Coca-Cola, Healthway Nutrition, Escanaba Area Public Schools, the Michigan National Guard, AAA Drivers Education, the Michigan State Police, and Halbinsel Volkswagen Mazda.