Liberty Park busy with Kids’ Day
Children of all ages shuttled in Wednesday on buses, cars, bikes and even wagons to Liberty Park, eager for what IKEA Renton River Days would have in store. White banners hung throughout the park welcoming Renton residents and visitors for a day of family fun.
The cool summer morning did not hinder the excitement and anticipation of the annual Kids’ Day at the Renton River Days festival near downtown. The park was quickly filled with screams of laughter, inspired by moon bounces, strolling stilt dancers and the aroma of hot dogs and popcorn.
The morning opened with the songbirds of the Mission Children’s Choir entertaining the crowd with singing and dancing. Tents in a rainbow of colors lined the park, offering games, food and activities.
Big draws included face painting by Renton High School cheerleaders and Old McLendon’s petting farm, where children were greeted by piglets, chickens and goats.
Preteens and teenagers took advantage of the Skyhawks Sports Academy and the Seattle Seahawks fan collectibles booth.
“My favorite was the football toss,” said Brandon Headland, 10, who attends Cascade Elementary. “I like football, so yeah, I made it through the holes.”
Just past the food and inflatables was the Renton Fire Department’s display center, bounded by yellow caution tape. Kids were able to climb, run and rummage through an authentic fire truck, then could take the “firefighters’ test” with a hose hoist and obstacle course. The experience came complete with wrangling a fire hose and letting the water shoot up toward the sky’s gray clouds.
A stage offered ongoing entertainment, including storytelling by Miss Jessica, gymnastics demos from the Little Gym of Kent, and a musical skit of “Once Upon a Mattress.”
But the day’s main event was “The Biggest Little Circus” at Gianini Stadium, put on by the Wenatchee Youth Circus. This group of young performers was fully equipped with tents, tight ropers, jugglers and clowns, a full circus but minus the animals. Trapeze artists and acrobats had the crowd laughing and gasping as they flew from one trick to the next.
“The trapeze was breathtaking and suspenseful because you didn’t know whether or not they would fall,” said Sierra Morrell, 12, of Port Aransas, Texas. “I think, sometimes, they do it just to show how hard the tricks really are.”
“It shows that they are just as good as the adults,” added Montanna Hamerly, 12, of Snoqualmie.
A day of food and games ended for many kids, in the same way, with a picnic lunch/dinner with friends trading stories of hoisting firefighter hoses, rainbow haired clowns and jugglers and sharing another exciting day of summer fun.
Alyssa Diep, a graduate of Kentridge High School, is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.