WILKES-BARRE — Families in Northeastern Pennsylvania were able to shake off some cabin fever on Sunday at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA’s fourth annual Winter Carnival.
About 300 parents and school-aged children gathered in the facility’s gyms in the afternoon to play games, win prizes and burn off some restless energy.
Kim Olson and her two sons, Jacob, now 8 years old, and Jared, 6, have attended each of the last four carnivals.
They travel from Pikes Creek to the Y on Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre for the carnival and feel it is well worth the trip.
“It’s really a great family day out,” Olson said. “The kids love the games.”
Open to the general public the carnival serves as the largest fundraiser for youth programs, according to the Y’s child-care director Heather Cuff. The funds raised will be used to purchase equipment, supplies and provide other support for Y youth programs, Cuff said.
And the carnival is a “huge” event for local children, she added.
Carnival-goers danced and clapped to live music, vaulted up and down as if on the surface of the moon in the bounce house, watched magic tricks, consumed snow cones, hot dogs, soft pretzels, popcorn and an array of homemade baked goods, Cuff said.
They played traditional carnival games found at the typical local fair or bazaar such as frog pond, basketball toss, ring toss, and angry birds toss and an old fashioned game of throwing a ball to knock down milk jugs, she added.
Prior to the actual carnival, a “mini swim meet” was held where 35 aquatic athletes glided through the water to raise funds, Cuff said.
Cuff thanked the 50 Y staffers and volunteers who labored to make the event run smoothly. They prepared the baked goods and helped set up the basket raffles which included a movie-themed basket, a money tree and lottery basket and more, she said.
Plus they ran the games and just generally made sure the children were safe and participating in the good times, she said.
“It’s a lot of work but it is so worth it to see the kids have fun and get excited,” Cuff said.