KIDZMANIA coming to Crossroads

Elizabeth Stanek

Back in 2012, a local group came together to discuss the lack of nonprofit organization awareness for families.

At the same time, parents were reporting that there was nothing to do as a family or that focused on younger children.

The committee decided to design a collaboration between businesses, service clubs and nonprofit organizations in order to help build a stronger community. The basic tenets were to promote a supportive community, provide access to local resources, provide educational opportunities, provide a family friendly atmosphere — and make it fun.

From there, KIDZMANIA was born. The first event was held in 2013.

“KIDZMANIA was born because we thought that holding this event would be a great way to connect the community with all the area resources,” said Elizabeth Stanek, executive director at Linking Families and Communities. “And if we are able to connect, we will be able to build stronger families and stronger kids, which will also help our community grow stronger.”

This year’s KIDZMANIA will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Crossroads Mall.

It is hosted by Linking Families and Communities, Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center, and UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.

KIDZMANIA is a family event.

“This is an event designed to be fun while allowing families to become aware of all the resources in our community that they might not be aware of,” Stanek said.

It will feature Iowa State University’s Insect Zoo, Bluedorn Science Imaginarium, STEM activities for kids, balloon art by Professor VonAir & Zounds and Friends, and face paining by the St. Edmond and Fort Dodge cheer squads.

“The insect zoo is something we have done every year and it is always a huge hit with the kids,” Stanek said. “Kids are able to touch, see and hear actual living insects and they just love it.”

The children will also get a chance to take pictures with their favorite superheroes or princesses during the event. From the Iowa League of Heroes, Batman, Wonderwoman, and Superman will be walking around from noon to 2 p.m.

Also from the Little Princess Parties, Tinkerbelle and Snow White will be present from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Throughout the day, KIDZMANIA will have various performances on the center stage of the Crossroads Mall. There will be performances by Stage Door Productions, Comedia Musica Players, Hollingsworth School of Dance and Gymnastics, Vicky’s Dance and Tumbling, and a magic show by Larry Dunbar.

Exhibitors expected at the event include Alpha Media; Amerigroup Iowa Inc.; Blanden Memorial Art Museum; Bluedorn Science Imaginarium; Boy Scouts of America; Child Care Resource and Referral; Community and Family Resources; Elanco Animal Health’ Families First; Fort Dodge Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department; Fort Dodge Theatre Groups; Fort Dodge Senior High Cheer Squad; Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa; Golden K Kiwanis; Iowa State University Insect Zoo; JOYmobile; Linking Families and Communities; One Vision Children’s Autism Center; North Central Iowa STEM Hub; Prairie Lakes AEA; Prairie Lakes Church; St. Edmond Cheer Squad; Studio Fushion; The Rec; United Healthcare; Unity Point Health; Upper Des Moines Opportunity; Valero Renewables; Walmart; and Webster County Health Department.