Fun day to encourage family bonding

For the children . . . Children’s Day committee chairman Russell Hendry gets ready for another edition of the longrunning event on March 3. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

A day full of family fun remains the focus for the long-running annual Children’s Day.

The day has been running in South Canterbury for more than 20 years, and takes place on the first Sunday in March.

Held at Caroline Bay, the day encourages families to partake in a wide variety of fun activities for absolutely no cost.

Children’s Day committee chairman Russell Hendry, who has been a part of the event for the past 18 years, said the goal had always remained the same.

‘‘The children’s day concept is to get families to come and enjoy themselves, have a good time together and just spend time together, which is important.

‘‘The aim is to get families to realise they can do things together — not just on Children’s Day but the next weekend and even the weekend after that.’’

It was a real community effort to organise, he said.

‘‘It started 20-odd years ago and was initiated by the children and young person service. They carried it on for a few years but then dropped out and left it to a local committee to run.

‘‘It now involves as many organisations as we can get together. We have the likes of Plunket, the Salvation Army and Family Works, groups that deal with families.

‘‘They’ve all just embraced it with such enthusiasm over the years.’’

Like previous years the Caroline Bay Association rides will be running for free, the Lions Club will be operating the little train and, along with the Salvation Army, will hold a sausage sizzle.

There will be the usual entertainment acts in the Caroline Bay Hall, bouncy castles, food as well as interactive displays by local police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand and much more.

Christchurch clown Adam Allsorts will be making an appearance and for the first time the Timaru Youth Collective will be involved by hosting a skate and scooter hangout at the skatepark.

Mr Hendry said it had been great to see the event evolve over time.

‘‘We’ve experimented with a few different things over the years but now we’ve settled into a bit of a pattern — we know what works.

‘‘It’s grown in popularity and talking to people on the day, they always say they are looking forward to next year and we often have people asking when the next one is, which is always a good sign.’’

Children’s Day had been very rewarding for him to be a part of and he still thoroughly enjoyed the event, he said.

‘‘Everyone just has such a good time, it’s all over in a flash and then we get right to organising the next one.

‘‘It still gives me a bit of a buzz. As a grandfather I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, so I just like seeing the kids having a good time.

‘‘It’s been well worth it.’’

Children’s Day will take place at Caroline Bay on Sunday, March 3.