Kids-a-Palooza festival draws families with warm weather, fun events
FALL RIVER — It’s a scene that hasn’t been observed in the city in a long time — large groups of families pushing strollers and holding the hands of their children as they walked down North Main Street on a lovely Indian summer afternoon.
The second annual Kids-a-Palooza on Sunday brought them out, thanks to the partnership of People, Incorporated and the Narrows Center for the Arts, which included six local organizations that provided arts, music, crafts and education for the throngs of eventgoers.
Kimberly Ferrara, owner of WiggleKids in the Swansea Mall, led dozens of children of all ages and sizes on colorful bouncing therapy balls in a community activity room at People, Incorporated.
Between squeals of laughter, 3-year-old Riley Duff concentrated on perfecting her hula hoop technique.
The free event brought a larger crowd this year than last year, said People, Incorporated Vice President of Communication Pam O’Neil, and called the family-centric event “awesome, exactly the success we were hoping for.”
“The families are absolutely loving it. It’s an effort to bring something positive to the community,” O’Neil said. “We have to make that investment.”
Other organizations involved in the event included the Greater Fall River Children’s Museum, Rua-Dumont-Audet Insurance, the Fall River Public Library, Fall River YMCA, Greater Fall River Re-Creation and Mechanics Cooperative Bank.
Up the street at the library, David Mello, the children’s services supervisor, captivated kids and their parents with a story about sharks. During his performance he pulled out a giant shark puppet to the delight of the audience.
Across North Main Street, 9-year-old Jesus Pena was getting his face painted while his father, Vincent Pena, took pictures with his smartphone.
“My kids are having a great time. It’s a perfect day for a perfect festival,” Pena said.
At the Children’s Museum, a crowd gathered outside to watch the members of the Youth Musical Theater Rising Momentum of Fall River perform musical numbers and dancing.
Rich Pimentel, director of the youth theater group, said there were 19 members performing 12 different acts.
“We like to give back to the community. These kids have so much talent,” Pimentel said.
The group have won national awards in performance arts and played in venues like Disneyland and opened for the Rockettes in New York, he said.
Watching the performances was Patrick Norton, executive director of the Narrows Center for the Arts, who called the second annual event “fabulous.”
“This has really transformed North Main Street, you don’t usually see a lot of families like this,” Norton said. “This goes to show when good people get together and focus on the positive a lot of good things can happen.”
The Kids-a-Palooza followed two other successful summer events, the Block-a-Palooza held on South Main Street and the Narrows Festival of the Arts held down near Battleship Cove.
“We will continue to find ways to bring cultural enrichment to the city and expose our kids and hopefully they will develop a healthy appreciation,” Norton said.
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