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Family Fest puts focus on children during the annual event

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 9:48 p.m. CDT
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(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
William Bloomfield, Tim Bloomfield and Cherie Caesar hold Sunny the snake as part of the DiNaso's Traveling World of Reptiles during Saturday's Family Fest, which was at Minooka Community High School South Campus.
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(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Stephanie Coleman with Standard Bank helps 2-year-old Ryann Locher with an elephant puppet at Saturday's Family Fest, which was at Minooka Community High School South Campus.
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(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Jeremy Taulbee holds a black throat monitor out for Zoey Edman to pet during Family Fest 2014, which was Saturday at Minooka Community High School South Campus.
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(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Ethan Meier tries his hand at acupuncture by Laurie Stone of Three Wells Acupuncture Clinic at Saturday's Family Fest, which was at Minooka Community High School South Campus.

CHANNAHON – Despite Mother Nature working against them, families filed into Minooka Community High School South Campus on Saturday for The Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry Family Fest 2014.

The snowy day did not stop the 46 vendors who participated or about 1,000 people from attending the annual event that is filled with family-friendly activities, said Sarah Peterson, events director for the chamber.

Executive Director Caroline Portlock said the goal of the Family Fest is different than other expos that put the focus on the products and services of businesses.

"Instead of putting focus on the wares, the focus is on children," Portlock said. "Our businesses want to engage the child and the parents."

Ethan Meier of Morris attended the pancake breakfast presented by 5 Star Cheer Association with his mother before going into the gym to check out what local businesses and service organizations were represented.

"The pancake breakfast was delicious," Meier said. "It's a fun event with a lot of variety."

Meier decided to try his hand at acupuncture, which was being given by Laurie Stone of Three Wells Acupuncture Clinic.

"Today we're just offering a general well being stress treatment," Stone said.

Standard Bank geared its booth more toward smaller children by offering a puppet booth the kids could use to put on their own shows.

DiNaso's Traveling World of Reptiles drew in large crowds for both of it's shows, providing hands-on entertainment for the children, as well as their parents.

"I liked the tortoise," Ellie Thompson said. "But the snake was scary, I didn't want to touch it."

Thompson's mother, Amy, said she likes to see the local offerings that aren't necessarily business related, as well.

"It's nice to see the library here, as well as the police departments in the area, they have a lot of information on their tables," Amy Thompson said.

Dave DiLorenzo, director of community relations at Minooka Community High School, said the district like the chance to host the event because the high school is a hub for the community.

"Our high school is a site where our community comes together, whether it's a football game or an expo like today, we like to be involved," DiLorenzo said.

Portlock said the event shows a nice variety of programs and services including the addition of the VA Mobile Unit and Grundy Workforce Services.

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