By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
Despite the spotty rain and cooler weather, more than 250 people came out to Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children for the Third Annual Kites for Kids event on Saturday afternoon.
As kites darted in the air and sometimes dove straight to the earth, attendees at Kites for Kids enjoyed a plethora of activities in addition to flying kites. Children and adults of all ages took the time to enjoy Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat’s many amenities including the “Theater in the Woods,” mini golf, ropes course and arcade games.
“We are so excited to have so many families that came out here today despite the weather,” said Samantha Roberts, volunteer coordinator, Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children. “We hope that families got the chance to come together have fun and learn how we serve kids with special needs.”
The entire campus of Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children was filled with activities to participate in and refreshments to enjoy. A popular activity during Saturday’s festivities included a photo booth, in which attendees could choose from an assortment of costume hates and props and have their picture taken which was printed on a keepsake photograph.
A walk through the forest lead you to the retreat’s “Theater in the Woods,” which was a state-of-art theater complete with lighted stairways and comfortable stadium seating chairs. Attendees could grab fresh hot popcorn and head into the theater which was showing “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” In the lobby of theater patrons were enjoying arcade games which included air hockey and a billiards table.
“This is great! And, fun for the kids. I brought my three little granddaughters,” said Johnny Gaiducki, Valley Mills resident. “This is a great place and atmosphere, and it is nice to see the youth volunteering to work with the children.”
In between the intermittent periods of rain attendees had the chance to enjoy arts and crafts, carnival style games and filled bags with treats from a candy buffet.
“We are glad to have this event for our community, and it gives us a chance to show what we have to offer at Variety here all year,” said Leslie Gilmore, executive director, Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children. “Great way to show the community what Peaceable Kingdom does to inspire and empower kids with special needs. The weather is ‘iffy’, but we have folks coming out to enjoy it.”
Participants that stayed till the end of the event had the chance to participate in a kite contest which had awards for; Best Decorated Kite, Highest Flying Kite, and Longest Time in Air Kite. Children and adults could be seen running across the pasture trying their best to have their kite catch wind and take flight.
“This is my first time here, my son has been here before with his school. He has autism and Shoemaker High School has brought him here before. It is great they have opened up to the public to enjoy,” said Patricia Easto, Fort Hood resident.
Killeen Fire Department had emergency vehicles on hand for interactive display.
“It was an awesome event and they (firefighters) love to come out to Peaceable Kingdom anytime they have an event,” Lt. Ferrell of Killeen Fire Department said.
For more information on Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom, visit www.varietytexas.org.