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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Many people came out to the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Kids enjoy testing instruments at the Sweetwater Sound booth during the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Liam Walker, 5, shoots a foam-tipped arrow at a target in Crazy Pinz archery tag Saturday during the Children’s Fest at IPFW, a Three Rivers Festival event with games, giveaways and hands-on activities.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Kennedy Hutton, 8, enjoys testing out a guitar at the Sweetwater Sound booth during the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Mackenzie Zumstein, 4, enjoys the bounce house during the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Starz Dance Academy's Juliana Luna, 13, dances during the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Skyzone's Aaron Downham sets up foam cubes for a game during the Children's Fest at IPFW on Saturday. The fest featured games, giveaways, live entertainment and much more. VIDEO/GALLERY

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 1:33 am

Festival lets kids have a ball

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

You could try your hand at being a disc jockey, fiddle with Legos using heavy gloves in a sealed case like they handle dangerous materials in labs, and even get to touch a real iron meteorite that landed on Earth from who knows where in the universe.

Those were some of the curiosities kids could find at the Children’s Fest at IPFW on Saturday, part of the Three Rivers Festival. Dozens of booths were set up, some by businesses and nonprofits that handed out brochures, pens and balloons, and others where kids got to do a little bit of hands-on fiddling.

WBCL, 90.3 FM, was letting youngsters be DJs for a little while, to sing a song or read a script and get a recording of their efforts. They had some takers.

Kids got the chance to bang away on a set of electric drums. The drums, which have been around since the 1980s, have been used by bands in concerts, in churches and in events like Saturday’s fest. Youngsters, some with more rhythm than others, got to hammer away with the drumsticks but not make enough noise to frazzle anyone’s nerves.

Fort Wayne Youtheatre attracted some would-be performers. The theater accepts children 3 to 6 for classes, and children 7 and older may audition for plays. Auditions are free and if you get a part, there is only a $25 costume fee, said Bret Wilson, administrative assistant for the Youtheatre. They offer lessons for $125 for 10-week courses.

And a booth put up by the Old Fort showed youngsters what life was like before batteries. The booth showed off old-style dolls, Jacob’s ladders, a game of cribbage and a curious wooden gadget with an acrobat that did flips.

Those willing to listen to Historic Fort Wayne volunteer Bob Jones learned that life as a kid wasn’t as much fun in the early 1800s. Toys were uncommon, and as soon as children could walk, they’d be in the fields, following their parents, who both worked the land.

Because of high infant mortality, some children didn’t even get names until they were older, Jones said.

So life was no fest.

fgray@jg.net