Fun and info at ICES fair

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By ERIN MAYES

Kids of all sizes happily glued feathers, sequins and beans to paper bags and wore them on their heads like royalty. They strung dried pasta on yarn and wrapped them around their necks and wrists like fine jewels.

And then they kicked off their shoes, climbed in the Bounce Jump N' Play inflated fun-houses and screamed their heads off.

Although the 29th annual ICES Children's Fair was fun for kids, it wasn't all about having a good time.

Infant Child Enrichment Services held the fair in the John Muir building at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds both to let kids play and to give information to parents on a variety of topics.

"We look forward to coming to it every year," said Mike Capito of Twain Harte, balancing son Jacob, 5, on his shoulders.

Representatives from the Church of the 49ers Preschool, Belleview Preschool, Summerville Parent Nursery School and many others were on hand to talk to parents.

Summerville High School student Elizabeth Skinner brought 200 DNA kits to the fair as part of her senior project. They'd all been handed out by the early afternoon.

"I'd been watching a lot of news coverage on the Amber Alert," said Skinner, 17, of her decision to concentrate on child safety and identification for her senior project.

She received a $600 grant from Prevent Child Abuse Tuolumne County and used the money to purchase the DNA kits. Parents swab the insides of their kids' cheeks for DNA and freeze the samples in case their children are ever missing. The DNA kits also have fingerprint sheets parents keep in case of emergency.

Also for her senior project, Skinner found a petition online that calls for child molesters and rapists to be jailed permanently after their "first strike."

Organizers called the event a success, based on the number of people who attended.

"I would say we have more people this year because we've run out of balloons and hot dogs," said Chris Mackenzie, ICES resource and referral specialist.

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The Union Democrat
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