Becky Calhoun

In this file photo, Becky Calhoun, KidCity coordinator, is pictured at KidCity.

On Aug. 1, KidCity will be going to neighborhoods in Noble County instead of inviting kids into neighborhoods at the Noble County Fairgrounds in Kendallville.

With safety first and fun close behind, one of northeast Indiana’s most anticipated family-focused events will be happening on its regularly scheduled date — the first Saturday of August.

But in light of the fact that COVID-19 remains a public health threat, and physical distancing saves lives, the event will not be concentrated at the Noble County Fairgrounds.

Instead:

• Volunteers at Noble County’s six libraries will distribute KidCity backpacks to families who stay in their cars.

• Activities will highlight various locations throughout Noble County.

• Kids will have Aug. 1-8 to complete activities.

“We have had to revise our KidCity 2020 plans,” Becky Calhoun, coordinator, said in a recent message to past supporters. “Holding a live event (at the fairgrounds) with more than 100 vendors and 5,000 folks in attendance on Aug. 1 is simply not a responsible thing to do given the current conditions.

“However, we have designed a ‘mini’ version of KidCity that will have minimal contact and still meet our mission and primary goals of connecting families/individuals with community resources, businesses, groups, etc. that support learning, personal growth and healthy living.”

Traditionally, KidCity has used what it called neighborhoods to group activities at various locations throughout the fairgrounds. This year, as in the past, the five neighborhoods will be health/fitness, communication/literacy, science/environment, community/civic and arts/culture — but they won’t be at the fairgrounds.

KidCity organizers are asking partners to help by providing engaging/interactive activity/information kits to be included in 1,000 KidCity backpacks.

“We are asking organizations to provide activity kits/instructions and information about their agency/program/school/business to go into the bags,” Calhoun said. “We ask each group to provide a minimum of 150 kits but encourage more.”

Activity kits should be dropped off at the Kendallville Public Library no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, July 24.

Kits from each neighborhood and a “passport” page will be put into the backpacks; contents of the backpacks will vary.

Six Noble County libraries will serve as curbside distribution points around the county on Aug. 1. Backpacks will be distributed on a first come basis beginning at 10 a.m. at each library. Kits not distributed by noon will be available inside the library throughout the week.

KidCity passports will include a link to the KidCity Facebook page and a short survey. Kids can post pictures of their completed activities online and answer the survey to be eligible for prizes.

Kids should complete activities and post by Friday, Aug. 7; drawings for prize winners will be on Aug. 8.

Kids without social media and/or internet access can submit paper forms at the libraries.

“We are excited to offer this ‘mini’ version of KidCity as a way to connect our families and local resources,” Calhoun said.

She invites people to contact her by email at rdcalhoun2003@yahoo.com or phone 343-1106 or reach out to other KidCity team members with questions and/or to brainstorm ideas.

“Activities need to be interactive and engaging, not just handing out promotional materials,” Calhoun said.

For example, Drug Free Noble County will be putting a Frisbee in the bag to make into a flower along with instructions for Frisbee games for different age groups. For parents, the publication “Shatter the myth” will be included in backpacks.

KPC Media Group will be creating summer fun magazines for the backpacks.

In the past, KidCity has attracted participants from 30-35 different ZIP codes. Fewer ZIP codes may be represented this year, but Calhoun said KidCity “may get kids we don’t normally get.”

The five prize packages will be based on exploring family-focused activities and feature items such as tickets to area attractions.

In addition to Calhoun, members of the steering committee are:

Community — Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, phone, 347-0352, or mayor@kendallville-in.org; Debi Pfaffenberger, debi.pfaffenberger@uwnoble.org or phone, 221-0144

Communication/Literacy — Ruth Guthrie, rguthrie@nobleco.lib.in.us or phone, 636-7197; Beth Munk, bmunk@kendallvillelibrary.org or phone, 343-2010

Science/Environment — Doug Keenan, Purdue Extension, phone, 636-2111, or keenand@purdue.edu

Arts/Culture — Jo Drudge, Gaslight Theatre, phone, 854-2595, or jdrudge@ligtel.com; Sonja Richards, srichards@complianceadvantagellc.com

Health/Fitness — Ryan Ferguson, Cole YMCA, phone, 347-9622, or yfitness@mchsi; or Taylor Yoder, Parkview, taylor.yoder@parkview.com

East Noble — Faith Erexson ENSC, at ferexson@eastnoble.net or phone, 242-1366

Concessions/vendors/publicity — Vi Wysong, KPC Media, phone, 761-4109, or vwysong@kpcmedia.com

The major sponsors are the Dekko Foundation, Noble REMC and the Noble County Community Foundation.

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