Family Fun Fest educates in entertaining fashion

Renata Poet Williams

Photo of a parked fire truck. This fire truck was just one of the many attractions at the Family Fun Fest. Photo by Renata Williams
A parked fire truck was just one of the many attractions at the Family Fun Fest.
Photo by Renata Williams

Full of children running around laughing, yelling and enjoying the outdoors, Family Fun Fest, held Sept. 18, is a mix between entertainment and learning. Held every third Wednesday from April through September, each month has a different theme.

September’s theme was art activities and performances, including music, dance and theater. Children of all ages, joined by their parents, gathered at Flat Branch Park to enjoy the two hours of kid-friendly activities and entertainment. A mother of two, Roz Mazda, came to the event for the first time to see what it had to offer.

“I think [my husband and I] like being able to have somewhere to take the kids, for free, downtown,” Mazda said.

The park is set up with many different booths, including the C.A.R.E. program, Museum of Art and Archaeology, La Petite École and many more. There was also a fire truck parked for children to explore, as well as a table where kids could carve shapes out of soup, arranged by the Mid-Missouri Woodcarvers.

“[For someone who has never been] I would tell them that it’s a really great atmosphere, definitely family friendly and lots of great friendly people and local organizations,” Amy Heidenreich, employee at the Columbia Public Library, said.“[The event coordinators] request that [representatives] come and we just basically promote programs and services at the library [that are] always free.”

Not all booths or booth representatives have had experience doing a Family Fun Fest table.  Amy Evans, who was running a booth at the event, said it was her first time doing it.

“We are representing a coalition of different agencies that work for people with various disabilities,” Evans said. “We’re informing kids about the fact that people with disabilities can work and can play and are apart of our community.”

Evans talked about how she liked the educational components to each booth. Even though some were fun, she could see each booth had something they were trying to teach.

There were other activities, such as a play which starred all children. Magnet storyboards were set up so children could make their own stories. And of course, there was face painting involved.

“It brings the community together,” Mazda said, “I mean, it’s nice to have events in your town for everyone to go to and everyone [can] bring their families and there’s all sorts of different people here.”

The event promotes learning, but with a fun twist that children and parents can enjoy. Community events such as the Family Fun Fest are a great way for families to get involved, and all Columbia residents are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities. To learn more about the event and upcoming events go to

What events that you have seen around Columbia get you the most excited/interested?
By Renata Williams