Family-friendly fun

SMILE: Big Rapids Middle School choir students perform “Happy” by Pharrell Williams during the Community and Family Expo on Saturday. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

SMILE: Big Rapids Middle School choir students perform “Happy” by Pharrell Williams during the Community and Family Expo on Saturday. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

BIG RAPIDS – The eighth annual Mecosta County Community and Family Expo brought many area services, businesses and organizations together under one roof at Big Rapids Middle School on Saturday.

The free event, hosted by the Mecosta-Osceola Great Start Collaborative and the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce, featured a family-friendly atmosphere with 97 tables representing various community businesses and services.

“It brings together families businesses and the different agencies in the community that provide services,” said LouAnn Gregory, coordinator for the Great Start Collaborative. “It helps people put a face to the agencies and actually sign up for some services. It also brings attention to businesses about the importance of being family-friendly.”

Along with activities for children such as face painting, Safety City, hands-on games and giveaways, parents also could take advantage of a car seat clinic, children’s vision screenings and take part in the Michigan Child ID program, offered by Big Rapids Masonic Lodge No. 171.

Families who completed the program received information about their child, including digital fingerprints, a recorded interview, a photo ID card, DNA sample, Toothprints dental impression and a profile with necessary information to issue an Amber Alert.

“This is all in case of an Amber Alert,” said Bruce Parker, past master. “We hope it will never be needed, but it’s like a fire extinguisher.”

The expo also included live, local performances from the Big Rapids Middle School Choir, Rhythmic Sky Studios, Beagle Fit, PT Plus, St. Mary School Choir and a mascot dance-off, all of which drew crowds to the gymnasium.

The Mecosta-Osceola Great Start Collaborative is currently accepting nominations for its Family Friendly Business Award, which are available online at mogreatstart.org. Nominations will be accepted through May 12.

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Posted by Miranda Roberts

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