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Festival keeping area kids busy during spring break

By Trina Trice

On a gray Tuesday afternoon, several children, with flowers and sunshine painted on their faces, jumped up and down without any sign of pending exhaustion.

They were enjoying their spring vacation at the Spring Break Fun Festival at the Southlake IceForum in Jonesboro.

Sponsored by Kid's Voice, a locally produced newspaper and cable television show, the festival gives parents and their children something to do during the week-long spring break currently under way.

Kid's Voice specializes in character building education for elementary school children.

"A lot of what we were going to do outdoors, we've had to do indoors until the weather gets better," said Tone Lane, creator and director of Kid's Voice.

The daily admission is $3 per child with $1 from each charge going to schools that are registered with Kid's Voice.

"When we started getting involved with Kid's Voice, a lot of principals and teachers expressed a desire to raise funds" for their schools, Lane said. "We decided to put our efforts into one main event."

The event features face-painting, animal balloons, cartoon drawings, magic show, and a DinoJump. The snowball-throwing, originally planned, has been postponed until the event can be moved outside, said Cindy Giovinco, IceForum's general manager.

The children from Camelot Christian Academy, a daycare and after school facility in Rex, didn't mind being inside, though.

Juanita Solomon, education director and teacher at Camelot Christian Academy, brought 22 of her students to the festival.

"We watched the magic show, we did the DinoJump, we did the egg relay and the chalk thing," said Courtney Sims, eight-year-old after school student at Camelot Christian Academy.

The chalk thing was a game of hopscotch drawn on the floor. Children could use colored chalk to draw pictures of their favorite animals and other whimsical things on the floor, Lane said.

"It's cool," said Brandis Rencher, 10-year-old at Camelot Christian Academy. "I liked the magic show the best."

Between a feast of snacks that included hot dogs, chips, punch, and ice cream, 12-year-old Brent Lee was able to get in a little ice-skating.

"I brought my two sons to have something to do on spring break," said Sherri Waters of Jonesboro. "It's something a little different, a little fun."

Kid's Voice is embarking on a national launch that will include a monthly spiritual column written by Ilyana Van Zant. Lane wants the community to feel assured that Kid's Voice won't abandoned it or its children.

"We started here," Lane said. "But we've gotten phenomenal response. We're not leaving Clayton County behind at all. I'm proud" of Kid's Voice. And, in a school system where there was political upheaval to begin with, for this to develop is a statement in itself on how powerful" the Kid's Voice message is.