May 2, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

Ohio County residents gathered recently to celebrate children at the eighth annual Celebrate the Child. The daylong event contained exhibits, activities and entertainment for families with an emphasis on helping children grow up to be healthy adults.

Each year, several thousand people arrive at Ohio County High School to attend the festivities. Celebrate the Child is a project of Together We Care, a school-community coalition and the school system.

"It's the best thing we do in this county," said Judy Burns, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service family and consumer sciences agent for Ohio County.

Burns and Ohio County 4-H agent Gary Druin serve on the community committee that plans the event and their 4-H students and Homemaker clubs members volunteer as well.

The Screaming Eagles parachute team from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell started the festivities this year with a jump on the school grounds.

The free event provided a carnival atmosphere while highlighting the importance of families. Approximately 3,500 people attended this year's event.

Druin said the event is the type of program Extension should assist with because it promotes youth and activities for families and the activities are free.

The 4-H Teen Club cooked chicken, pork burgers and other items at the event and will use the proceeds to pay their other activities through the year, Druin said. They served more than 500 meals.

The paratroopers, a magic show and pets and a petting area were a few highlights from the event. Also, booths were set up that contained hands on activities relating to 40 developmental assets children need to become productive, responsible youths.

The annual event pulls together people from the school system, Extension, parents and other community members interested in making the county a better place for families, Burns said.

Druin said the event is a model to other communities in that it brings together people from across the county to accomplish the goal.

The event continues to grow each year. In its inaugural year, about 300 people attended. This year's event attracted about 3,500 people, Burns said.


Judy Burns and Gary Druin, (270) 298-7441