JACKSON TWP. The third annual Baby, Tot and Bigger Show took over center court in the Belden Village Mall on Saturday. The event was free and open to young, growing families.
Hundreds of families found plenty of information from more than 25 exhibitors. Games, prizes, story time, a scavenger hunt, a coloring station, arts and crafts and photos with a firefighter were all part of the fun.
"The show is focused on getting information into the hands of parents who have babies, tots and preschoolers," said show producer Dayna Yurkovich. "We’ve had a great response from parents and families today and the past two years. The purpose of the show is to provide information on the resources in the area available to families. Plus, we’ve expanded the entertainment to have more activities such as a Scavenger Hunt for the kids," she said.
A short list of vendors included Autlman Birth Center, Jackson Township Fire Department, Babywearing International of Akron Youngstown, Brain Balance Achievement Center of Canton, Cedar Family Dental, KinderCare Learning Center, The Breastfeeding Center and many more.
Natalie Thornberrry and a group of young mothers were at the show representing Babywearing International. They were all wearing their children in carriers and talking to other parents about the benefits of baby wearing.
"We are part of an international company that promotes through education baby wearing as a universally accepted practice which benefits both the child and the caregiver," Thornberry said. "There are so many styles of baby wearing carriers out there it’s easy to choose one that fits one’s individual needs. Some carriers are worn on the back and some are worn on the front. Our mission is to educate parents on how to wear the carriers and the benefits of baby wearing."
The organization holds educational classes in Canton, Akron, Youngstown, Boardman and Ravenna. Participants can pay a monthly membership and rent carriers throughout the membership.
In addition to the fun activities, kids had the opportunity to meet a local firefighter. Jackson Township firefighter and inspector Ralph DeChiara Jr. was taking photos with parents and the children. Some kids came right up to him and others were shy and wanted their mom or dad in the photo.
The mall was busy and people hosting the tables at the Baby, Tot and Bigger show were busy talking with caregivers and entertaining children. Yurkovich said she was pleased with the number of people visiting the show.
"We are just so excited to present this show every year and to be a vital resource for young families. I just want to say thank you to all the families who came out to join us today," Yurkovich said.