Children's Museum festival brings families downtown

Oct. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

Alysha Gutierrez clung to a heap of folded-up yellow tickets that were as long as her almost-9-year-old body.

She had just exchanged a few of them for the pink skull body paint proudly displayed on her shoulder.

"I want to ride the horses," she said of the next adventure that awaited her at the Children's Discover Museum's Fall Family Fun Festival on Saturday.

From llamas to dairy cows and a dunking booth to three giant bounce houses, there was no shortage of options for Alysha and dozens of other kids to take part in.

Families wandered about dance team performances, chalk art and food vendors - all set up at DeLeon Plaza and One O'Connor Plaza.

Cathy Lowe, director of the Children's Discovery Museum, said the museum decided to host its first festival outside its doors to raise funds and bring more life to downtown.

"We wanted to let people know we're here downtown and that there really are things going on downtown," she said.

Alysha's grandmother, Janie Ayala, said she and her husband, Greg, heard about the festival the night before and jumped at the chance to bring four small grandkids and their son.

She said they rarely make it downtown, then looked around and said, "This is just nice."

"They need something for the kids," Ayala continued. "This is better for them to be out here than on the streets or behind a TV doing nothing."

Her grandkids seemed to agree, each showing off their matching dragon body paint before heading to a bounce house.

Hillary Martinez was manning one of the bounce houses, watching as children screamed and slid down an inflatable slide.

The Victoria East High School senior said she was volunteering at the event as part of the National Honor Society.

"I like to work with kids, so this is fun," she said. "They are loving it."

Hillary said she didn't remember coming to any events like the Fall Family Fun Festival when she was younger, but hopes downtown activities continue.

"It would be better. It'd help bring the community together," she said.

For Lowe, the families that turned out and the 150 volunteers who helped put on the event proved once again how generous the community is, especially when it comes to kids, she said.

"I think a lot of people realize if you don't give something back to your community, your community might not be worth living in."

Lowe said she hopes to host the festival again next year.



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