Harley Hazelton gripped the nozzle of the digital fire extinguisher.
The 4-year-old stared down his target, aimed and began extinguishing the glowing red and orange flames illuminating the fire simulator. A wide smile spread across Harley’s face as the fire began to dwindle.
Winona firefighter Jake Klaver cheered as Harley put out the last flame. Klaver reached out with his right hand and high-fived Harley before greeting the next child in line. The fire simulation was one of the many activities Winona-area residents took part in during the Family Fun Day and Summer Activities Fair Saturday morning.
“I didn’t know what Winona was all about when I came down here,” Klaver, a California-native, said. “It’s great to see it all.”
Blandine Berthelot, conferencing assistant of housing and residence life at Winona State University, said this year’s event had an estimated 500 people, nearly doubling last year’s attendance. The fair offered families a variety of pastimes and featured more than 20 exhibits from area camps and programs, including Camp Wenonah, Backyard Kids Club, Ridgeway Community School and Elks Youth Camp.
Pam Pfister, Winona Park and Recreation aquatic center and Learn to Swim program coordinator said everyone who came through the displays carried a handful of papers.
“It’s a great opportunity to plan your summer,” she said.
The Family Fun Day and Summer Activities Fair first began as two individual events four years ago, Xavier Wilson, assistant director of housing and residence life at WSU, said. Winona Area Public Schools, Winona Park and Rec and WSU decided to combine both events in 2011 in order to establish a larger more versatile fair.
“It’s one place where your kids can have fun throughout the day and you can get to know what’s going on in the area,” Wilson said. “It’s a great way to bring the community together.”
Rollingstone resident Rachel Larson attended the event with her 5-year-old daughter, Greta, and her neighbor’s 5-year-old son, Kallan. Larson made the trip to learn about what summer activities were available for Greta and in the process registered her to play soccer.
“I like that it’s fun,” Greta said.