Many activities at Children’s Area

– From arts and crafts to kiddie rides to candy straws, the
newly expanded children’s area is sure to keep youngsters busy
throughout the 2002 Gilroy Garlic Festival.
GILROY – From arts and crafts to kiddie rides to candy straws, the newly expanded children’s area is sure to keep youngsters busy throughout the 2002 Gilroy Garlic Festival.

According to Children’s Area chair, Mary Ellen Bena, “It’s going to be a lot of fun.” The area, located on the Creek side of Christmas Hill Park, will be brighter and more children-oriented. Even the garbage cans will be painted with primary colors, Bena said.

One main attraction is the new art booth where children can try their hand at marble art, tissue stain and chalk drawings at no charge. Local artists, Marianne Peoples, Whitney McClelland and Mike Gladamore will also present demonstrations on quilting, faux painting and drawing and painting, respectively. This booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Bena is hoping to accommodate 1,000 to 1,300 kids. The Children’s Area and main festival are open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

After a successful weekend last year, Home Depot will return with twice the amount of project kits and orange aprons. This year, they will have 3,000 kits, including a space shuttle fully equipped with the American flag, a sail boat and a heart shaped stool. Kids can choose their project and complete as many kits at no charge as long as they wait in line. Helen Fort, organizer of the Home Depot booth, said, “We are just trying to be out there in the community.” She also shared that the associates love being a part of this event and volunteering their time. This is Home Depot’s second year at the festival.

“Kid’s responded phenomenally,” Fort said of last year’s projects. Each child must complete a waiver to participate. Last year, kids visited the booth from 53 cities in California, 16 states and several foreign countries.

This booth will be located at the back of the Children’s Area to avoid congestion at the entrance.

“Museums of San Jose” will also have a booth where kids can participate in free hands-on activities, such as coloring and design challenges. A spokesperson from The Tech Museum of Innovation said staff from her site, as well as Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and The Historical Museum will be present to supervise the activities. Specific plans have not yet been finalized. There will also be volunteers from The American Museum of Quilts and Textiles, The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and The Art Museum to share information about their organizations.

“(We are) coming to the festival to promote the cultural and family experiences in San Jose,” the spokesperson said. They are excited to attend the festival and represent their city.

Two new vendors joining the Children’s Area this year are “Panning for Gems” and “Candy Straws.” For $5, children can purchase a bag of polished rocks and then cool off while panning for them, just like gold. Visitors can also create art with sugar at the candy straw booth. Kids can fill clear plastic tubes with colored sugar, $3 for 12 inches or $4 for 19 inches.

Bob Lynch Ford will hand out free safety kits in the area’s souvenir booth. Customer relations manager, Valerie Marinovich said the kits hold all the pertinent information about a child such as physical descriptions and health information.

Kids can also visit all the old favorites, such as the hermit crab booth, wax hands, spin art, sand art, bounce house, children’s rides and many others. The Monterey Bay Aquarium will return to promote this local treasure.

And never fear hunger. There will be a variety of food booths near the main entrance.

When visitors need a rest, enjoy the entertainment of the area’s stage. Shows run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be hula hoop contests, arm wrestling contests and prize giveaways.

And don’t forget to take a picture with Herby the Garlic Bulb who will walk around from noon to 4 p.m. each day.