A fun family affair

First Posted: 3/11/2012

Science projects and chapter books and summer fun vendors, oh my!

The Second Annual Family Fun Expo at Dallas Elementary was held on March 1, and about 600 people gravitated to the event.

The three aspects of the expo – the science fair, book fair and community vendors – were once held separately throughout the year, but due to low attendance at a few of the events, the parent-teacher organization decided to jam all the fun into one night.

“It keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Melissa Chrusch, Dallas Elementary librarian.

Students clamored for the latest titles at the annual Scholastic Book Fair, the proceeds of which help fund new book purchases for the library.

“I have a list of books the kids really want us to get,” said Chrusch.

Tina Tomkins, of Dallas, browsed the chapter books with her son, 6-year-old Logan, and 5-month-old daughter, Gwendolyn.

“We read every night,” she said. “This is a great way to encourage kids to get away from the computer.”

Logan Tomkins was looking for a book on kung-fu.

“I get excited when I think about reading,” he said. “I look forward to it.”

The vendor portion of the expo includes community organizations from around the region, including dance studios, kid-friendly camps and other events parents can learn more about for summer planning.

“We have 25 vendors this year,” said Kristen Angelicola, PTO chairperson of the expo. “It’s simple for parents to come out – it’s one-stop shopping ahead of time.”

Bonny Laneski from the Kids at King’s program at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre said the organization has been participating at the Dallas Elementary event for six years.

“We do educational but fun camps for kids in first through eighth grade,” she said.

Laneski said the program at King’s has existed for 11 years, but there are still plenty of people who don’t know about it. Events like the Family Fun Expo help get the word out about the program’s offerings.

“Parents who work need to find something for kids to do in the summer,” she said. “We start getting calls in February for when the kids get out of school.”

Four fifth-grade girls set up shop at the expo to sell their handmade jewelry for a good cause.

Gianna Musto, of Dallas, Alicia Vinceloi, of Dallas, Alyssa Angelicola, of Shavertown, and Bailey Tregan, of Dallas worked over three months to create bracelets to raise money for the local SPCA and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“One of our teachers’ nieces has cancer so we wanted to help,” said Musto.

More than 230 students participated in more than 160 projects at this year’s science fair, said Deanna Habib, PTO chairperson.

Habib said it’s a fun, voluntary event for the kids who want to learn more on their own, and parents end up learning just as much.

“One student who was able to measure the iron in cereal – his mom just watched and was really interested in how he did it,” she said.

Habib’s daughter, Olivia, made glow-in-the-dark Jell-o for her project.

“We looked in some science books from home and she decided to do that because it’s fun and you can eat it,” said Habib.

One could eat Johanna Kiska’s project, too, but there’s a little bit more work involved.

The 10-year-old from Shavertown brought in a cage with two of her chickens to the 18th annual fair. She wondered why and how eggs got their shape and color.

“The size of the chicken determines the size of the egg, and the color of the earlobe determines the chicken’s egg color,” she said.

Though her scientific subjects sometimes bite, she enjoys tending to her chickens and has had them all her life.

“I show some of them and you can win prizes,” said Kiska. “If you have a hen house, you can sell the eggs.”

Cades Linder, 8, of Dallas, made music as her science project – she filled jars will varying amounts of water to create music notes.

“It’s a water bottle xylophone,” she said.

“I thought it would be fun for people to play songs. The smaller the amount of water, the higher the sound and the lower the amount of water, the lower the sound.”

Linder is a lover of all things scientific, mostly because she enjoys taking measurements and “figuring things out.”

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