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Family fun at the fair

Firefighters+interacting+with+children+during+the+Family+Fair.
Firefighters interacting with children during the Family Fair.

Firefighters interacting with children during the Family Fair.

COURTESY OF DAQUARII J. ROCK

COURTESY OF DAQUARII J. ROCK

Firefighters interacting with children during the Family Fair.

LATISHA JENSEN | Evergreen reporter

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Each year, the Family Fair brings together Whitman County organizations with children, families and students during an interactive event full of music, dance, theater and child-friendly informational booths.

United Way is a non-profit organization that supports local networks and, this year, is co-hosting the 21st annual Family Fair alongside Palouse Resource Network for Families.

Daquarii Rock, the executive director of United Way of Pullman, identifies the needs of the community, then helps organize fundraising events such as the Family Fair, where the fund made go toward 16 non-profit agencies who serve children and families in Whitman County.

“Basically, families and kids come and they learn about what kinds of organizations are here to help them in Pullman,” Rock said, “and then also do stuff that kids love.”

The police and fire departments will host helmet, bicycle and car seat safety checks at the fair. Avista Utilities will also host activities, show visitors their van and talk about how utilities and electricity work, Rock said.

In total, 25 non-profit organizations that serve Whitman County children and families will each have their own informational booths as well as activities designed for children, Rock said.

“I think we have such a transient population with new people coming into our community every year,” Rock said, “so the new families, especially the international families on campus, we want them to be able to know what resources are available to them.”

The fair helps international newcomers engage in the community instead of just being engaged in the university, Rock said.

United Way worked closely with the Center for Civic Engagement to find event volunteers. Some of WSU’s Greek system members will help set up tables and lead children during activities throughout the fair.

“It’s a good way to connect the university and the students with very young people and create that community-university activity,” Rock said.

Local agencies who helped sponsor the event will provide healthy drinks and snacks to families, and animals from Pullman Regional Hospital will attend. Children will also have access to free books, courtesy of donations from various sources.

Pullman Aquatic and Fitness Center donated 50 family passes to go into Family Fair raffle baskets.

It takes more than four months to plan this event, gather volunteers, find donors, recruit agencies and let families know what’s happening, Rock said.

“I really enjoy watching the children get excited about simple things, and the families have a place to let their kids run around and learn about stuff,” she said. “It’s a great day of physical activity and mental stimulation.”

The 21st annual Family Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Lincoln Middle School. Admission is free.

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Family fun at the fair