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Festive kids at Lake Meade Park

Sunny and clear skies on Wednesday made a perfect backdrop for hundreds of children to enjoy Kids Fest at Lake Meade Park’s KidsZone, located on Holly Lawn Parkway behind the downtown Kroger.

Kids Fest is a free activity day on select spring days for children up to age 5. This event is sponsored by Suffolk Early Childhood Development Commission and Suffolk Parks and Recreation, with numerous local organizations in attendance as well.

A previous Kids Fest was held on May 1 at Bennett’s Creek Park, and the downtown festivities on Wednesday gathered about 400 students for active, outdoor fun. Families, childcare centers, schools and more all joined the fun.

“It’s an event just for Suffolk youngest population,” said Brenda O’Donnell, early childhood coordinator for Suffolk ECDC.

The children honked the horns of a Suffolk Police car and got a closer look at a Suffolk Fire & Rescue truck. They got to pet goats and cows at the Teeny Tiny Farm petting zoo, and each child got a free treat served up by Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice.

Children slid and climbed on a recently completed addition to the park’s KidsZone, which is Suffok’s first playground to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I love it,” said Jodey King, who was at the park with her daughter Abigail Whitehurst, 5. “We’ve been out here lots of times, but (the playground addition) is new. (Abigail) also liked the petting zoo.”

School kids played with bubbles, danced to the music and soared on the swing sets. It was a kaleidoscope of different activities for some of Suffolk’s youngest citizens.

“I think they’re having an awesome time,” said Anitra Smith-Freeman, an Early Start/pre-kindergarten teacher at Pioneer Elementary School, which had about 32 students at the park. “They’re enjoying being outside and visiting the different areas, (like) playing with the animals, and of course the police car is awesome.”