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Kids Korner: A fun-safe place for children during Fort Ligonier Days

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 8:17 a.m.

The Kids Korner at the Ligonier Valley YMCA will once again be the place for fun and laughter during Fort Ligonier Days.

“There are a lot of fun activities that are geared toward children,” said Rachel Pavlik Kids Korner chairperson. “It's a great time for the kids to be themselves and have fun.”

Among the Kids Korner attractions at the YMCA are the National Guard big sports blow up activity, caricatures by Jeff Donata, prizes and giveaways from Chic-Fil-A, the Ligonier swim team will operate a concession stand, Brent Armour Christine's sand art creations, games including ring toss and fish pond from A&A Novelty, portraits by Cecelia, aqua art with Mary Jane Derogatis, a bouncy house, and autographs from Miss Teen USA Jule Belechak and U.S. Olympic diver Cassidy Kugh.

Many of the activities are free but there are costs associated with some of the events which are affordable according to Pavlik.

One of the staples over the past 20 years during the youth activities of Fort Ligonier Days is the aqua art of Mary Jane Derogatis, which she calls rewarding.

“Each year there are new kids, it's the kind of activity that never grows old,” said Derogatis.

The children create water art in plastic bottles, adding gravel and novelty items and finally water colored with food coloring. The final product is similar to an aquarium, it's very child-safe, and it's a piece of art the children have made Derogatis said.

“They do it themselves and they are proud of it,” she said.

This year Derogatis will also offer the very popular glitter tattoos to her Kids Korner activities.

The ring toss and duck pond games are also new to the Kids Korner this year as is the National Guard sports blow up which will add to the big fun and the safe playing environment for children during the busy three-day festival.

“The YMCA invests in community and that all starts with our kids,” said Ben Wright YMCA executive director.

Wright added the YMCA is happy to be part of the vibrant community event which helps to strengthen and promote the community.

The Kids Korner also provides a safe playing environment for children and a respite for parents.

“Last year, I watched as children ran around the yard and parents sat on the fence relaxing after the parade. It was nice to see the energy of the children as well as the sense of relief on the parents face,” Wright said.

Last year, the Fort Ligonier Days committee relocated the Kids Korner from its location in the Commercial Bank parking lot on West Main Street to the YMCA at 110 W. Church St., which proved to be a positive move.

“The relocation made more people ware of the kids activities because when people think of the YMCA they also think of kids,” Pavlik said. “Also it's a safer environment because we are in a gated area away from the street.”

Pavlik also said the Kids Korner event is a good opportunity for parents to browse and shop the vendors tables inside the YMCA and learn about it's many programs.

This is Pavlik's first year chairing the Kids Korner committee for Fort Ligonier Days and she is anxious to fulfill a YMCA goal.

“The YMCA is strives for youth development and this is a good way to get kids engaged,” said Pavlik.

The Kids Korner operation hours during Fort Ligonier Days are Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Most vendors around town are geared towards adults but the Kids Korner is aimed directly towards kids,” said Pavlik.

Diana Lasko is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.