Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 18, 2013

Child Resource Fair to be held

Special to the Record-Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY — Area moms stepped in to create a pre-school fair, an effort to fend off a break in tradition.

The annual GT Preschool and Child Resource Fair will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Trinity Lutheran School in Traverse City.

Co-chairs Heidi Grebe and Kristen Klinglesmith expect about 30 different vendors to participate. On hand will be a mixture of preschools representatives, as well as businesses or organizations that offer fun and child-centered resources, such as sports, martial arts or art.

The event also will include healthy snacks and lunch for sale, a Comfort Station for moms and hands-on learning activities for children.

"My son is seven now and we're past preschool but this is just such a neat thing," said Grebe, who at past fairs found her son's preschool, as well as activities for him and other families to befriend.

"We just went in and had so much fun and learned about things," she added.

The volunteer-driven preschool fair has deep roots in the community, but this year almost did not happen when no one stepped in to support it. Trinity Lutheran School, where Grebe's son is a student, offered to host it when she approached them. She was spurred into action by the support of friends, who also wanted the annual tradition to continue.

"I was disappointed when I realized that there wasn't a fair planned this year," she said. "When I shared this information with friends at my son's school, the enthusiasm for this event just exploded."

The fair offers parents of younger children a chance to meet and learn about a host of programs geared to the developing years.

It is important to most parents to research preschool programs before sending their children somewhere, Grebe noted.

"We have so many great programs in our own area here," she said. "Some parents like large learning situations with lots of kids and teachers, while others want a small environment. Each program offers different things."

The fair also is a fun and family friendly outing for the middle of winter, somewhere kids can safely romp while moms meet and connect.

Coordinators drew on their own experiences as attendees when setting up this year's event. They chose an in-town location with enough parking and made sure to provide both food as well as entertainment, features they appreciated when their children were younger.

"The positive experiences we have had in past fairs helped in the planning of this upcoming event," Grebe said.