It's a bird. It's a plane. It's the return of MirrorMoms.com Superhero Day.
Superheroes and real-life heroes are participating in a day of fun and education at the Blair County Convention Center on Sunday.
Like other Mirror Moms events, it promotes "quality time" with family and "also really brings in the component of community," Candy Holliday, Mirror Moms Community Liaison, said.
"Any Mirror Moms event that I do I always want it to have that component of quality time," she said. "The weather has been bad. It's been awful. It's time to get out of the house and spread our capes, I guess you could say."
Last year's attendance at the event totaled about 2,000, and the expectation this year is even higher, Holliday said.
While nonprofit agencies will share resources and offer activities and crafts for the kids, this is the first year firefighters, police, emergency responders and military personnel will be at the event.
If you go
What: MirrorMoms.com Superhero Day
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Blair County Convention Center, lower level
Admission: $5, children 9 and younger; $2, adults. All children must be accompanied by and adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a child. Activities suitable for children ages 9 and younger.
Blood drive will be held
An American Red Cross blood drive will be held at this year's MirrorMoms.com Superhero Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"They have a program called Pint Size Heroes where they educate the students about what it's like and what the benefits are of giving blood. They can then relay that information to Mom and Dad, which in turn makes them a pint-sized hero, so that's going to be a big element of our day as well," Candy Holliday, Mirror Moms Community Liaison, said.
To register call, 1-800-Red-Cross or visit www.redcrossblood.org. Use reference number GAR.AMHERO.V1.02.2014.
Adults who donate will get in free to the main event.
"I know our local police department is really starting to step out of their box. And they're starting to get more engaged with different areas of the community, which I think is awesome. So this is another way for kids to realize that these aren't scary people, these are people that we can count on in times of crisis," Holliday said.
Taking the fear out of an ambulance ride is part of AMED's goal at the event.
An ambulance will be on display, and kids will be allowed to explore the ambulance, giving them "more of an understanding so that they're not fearful if they ever have to experience that," AMED Deputy Chief Dino Conigy said.
AMED will give lessons in hands-only CPR at the event.
"In the past, mouth-to-mouth was the main reason people hesitated to perform CPR.
Now the American Heart Association is teaching, in accordance with the new science, to perform only chest compressions," Conigy said.
Allegheny Mountain Fire-fighters Initiative spokesman John Kane said Lakemont Fire Company will bring its engine truck, Smokey the Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog to the event.
A 911 call simulator to teach kids how to call for help, and an LED fire extinguisher simulator will also be on hand.
Along with several other area departments, Lakemont Fire Company is a member of the initiative aiming to recruit more firefighters to its 32-member department and motivate and encourage current firefighters to earn higher certifications and remain active members, according to its website www.becomeavolunteerfirefighter.org.
In the 1970s, Pennsylvania volunteer firefighters numbered more than 300,000; today the number has dropped to just above 50,000, Kane said.
The initiative will share its recruitment effort at the event.
"Hopefully some of the moms and dads will think about stepping forward and volunteering to help in one way or another with their local fire departments, because all fire departments need help," Kane said.
A grant received about a year ago enables the initiative to offer benefits such as money for college, reimbursement for childcare during training and health insurance to volunteer firefighters meeting certain requirements.
"We're very anxious to speak to our youth," Kane said of being part of Superhero Day. "They are our future and we want them to continue to aspire to be a firefighter. We still visit the schools during fire prevention week and the folks still pass out the plastic hats just like when you and I were kids, and we hope we'll plant some seeds and some of those people will eventually go on to become firefighters."
The event will have an obstacle course from the Pennsylvania Martial Arts Alliance.
The group is making this year's course "bigger and better than what it was last year and the kids will actually get to break a board with their super powers at the end of the course," Holliday said. Other activities will include Superhero Kids Zumba, and "bigger and bouncier bounce houses."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.