Two years ago, Candy Holliday craved just one day for her family away from the daily grind of the dishes, the laundry - you know, the stuff that gets us all down from what really matters to a family.
Turns out, that's what many moms wanted, too. They literally came by the hundreds, bringing their kids, husbands and friends to the first Mirror Moms' Kids Fest last year. All told, there was a huge crowd of close to 5,000 people at the event held at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona.
"This was a day for kids and parents to spend quality time together and not get interrupted by all the stuff that gets to us on a regular basis," said Holliday, who is the Altoona Mirror's community liaison for Mirror Moms.
This year, Holliday had to move the event to Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve, because she expects an even bigger crowd, she said. Rob Egan, the Curve's general manager, and his team have helped to make sure the event will work whether it rains or the sun shines on the event date, which is Sunday, Sept. 22, Holliday said.
Vendor Nichole Molinari agrees.
Molinari sells "Scentsy" products, which range from wickless candles to bath soaps and body lotions. Vendors like Molinari will be set up in the concession area, while larger-sized events like bounce houses are slated for the field area.
If you go
What: Mirror Moms Kids Fest
Where: Peoples Natural Gas Field, Altoona
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 22
Cost: Free, children with accompanying adult if they bring a canned good; if not, the cost for kids is $1. Canned goods will be donated to Food for Families Food Kitchen in Altoona: Adults, $2 (For Kendama Tournament, the cost is $5 and you must pre-register; call 946-7542
For more info on vendor spaces, contact Candy Holliday at 946-7542 or
"With the field the way it is, there's enough space so that no matter what happens, you've got coverage both ways," she said.
Molinari was at the first Kids Fest event last year and couldn't believe the turnout, a major reason she signed up for this year.
"Especially for a first year, you don't know what to expect, so that was unusual, but it just went through the roof," Molinari said. "It was just crazy. It was absolutely amazing."
Another indication that last year's event was a success was the long line of kids waiting for the lone bounce house, Holliday said. So this year, she's having three.
"There were lines with one-hour [waits] for the one bounce house," she said. "There's no way I want to see families waste that kind of time."
Other events for the kids, (which the fathers are supposed to take them to while the moms shop, Holliday suggested), include line dancing taught by the wait staff from the Texas Road House and the restaurant's mascot "Andy the Armadillo." There's also the "Tumble Bus," a specially-outfitted school bus with padded cushions so that kids can safely do gymnastics led by a trained instructor.
Area entertainer Mike Zaffuto will perform his "Rock 'n' Roll Pet Store" show, during which he interacts with children using animal puppets. There's also a Kendama tournament, which requires a $5 entry fee and pre-registration.
In addition several nonprofit groups will have booths where they will offer crafts for sale, and of course, there'll be lots of food for hungry family members of all ages.
When she came up with the idea for the event, Holliday wanted to keep costs low. There is a $2 admission fee for adults, and kids who bring a canned good get in free. The cost for kids without a can of food is $1. The cans of food will be donated to Food for Families Food Kitchen, operated by Sister Paula DelGrosso in Altoona, which serves daily lunches and gives food to needy families.
The major sponsor of the event is UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Several area companies are also sponsoring the event in various ways. Outfield activities sponsors include Coventry Cares, MedExpress and Fiore True Value/Just Ask Rental.
Central Pa. Digital Learning Foundation provided stage sponsorship
Vendor spaces are still available by calling Holliday at 946-7542 or by emailing her at cholliday@ altoonamirror.com.