Connecting parents and kids
Bring the family to the 2017 By Nicholas Elmes What if you could plan a fun day with the kids, and connect with businesses and nonprofits focused on helping kids in the area as well?
The 11th Annual Baby Kid Expo, set for Saturday, May 6, at the St. Charles Convention Center, from 9 a.m. until 3p.m., will provide all of that and more.
The free expo is the largest annual event held in the metro St. Louis area that’s specially designed to provide parents with a fun trade show atmosphere, while their kids enjoy an awesome day of fun and entertainment while parents get to learn about resources available in the community that they might not be familiar with otherwise.
“It is a way for people to meet face to face and learn about those opportunities,” said Baby Kid Expo Owner/Event Manager Heather Deatz. “It is designed to connect businesses and families directly.”
Over one hundred businesses will have information on recreation, education, health, camps, finance, home improvement and many unique products will be available for purchase.
“We focus on kids from birth through middle school,” said Deatz. “We have a lot of things for babies, toddlers and elementary school kids; but we also get into things like tutoring and recreational activities for older kids as well.”
Deatz said that while the expo is located in St. Charles, the event has a large regional draw.
“It’s a very central location,” she said. “There are not any other events like this in the whole metropolitan area, so we draw from Illinois as well as from way out west.”
This year’s expo features a wide variety of new educational and entertaining events for all ages. The expo’s presenting sponsor, BJC St. Charles County, will be unveiling their brand new Mobile Health Fair at the expo.
“It is an interactive experience with games, activities and giveaways focused on health and wellness,” said Deatz. “There’s skeeball, Zoltar the fortune teller and more. Everything will tie into some health offering in this brand new exhibit.”
Also, new this year is the American Diamonds pageant, which will give girls and boys ages one to 15 a chance to compete in varying age groups and clothing styles.
“There will be two different dress divisions,” said Deatz. “They can choose to participate in either Bling Bling Wear, which is a traditional pageant type dress category, or Diamond in the Rough, which will be more basic clothing when they model on stage. There will be one winner per age division who will get a crown and sash and trophy and the overall winner will get a free entrance fee to a bigger pageant happening in the fall.”
More information and registration can be found at www.babykidexpo.com.
For the more science oriented, another new attraction, Mad Science, will be amazing the kids with their Fire and Ice Show on the main stage.
“Kids will be dazzled and entertained as they interact with our Mad Scientists,” said Deatz. “There will be foggy dry ice storms, giant beach balls floating in the air and even a special Mad Science ‘burp’ potion. Don’t miss this at 10:45 am.”
Deatz said a returning event, the Diaper Derby, is always a crowd favorite.
“We have five different heats and the parents do everything they can to get their kids to race across the stage to see who is the fastest,” she said. “A lot of them get distracted by the crowd or the music so it is really funny. It is fun for the parents, the kids and the crowd to watch.”
Parents can register their nine to 14-month-old children to participate in the Diaper Derby at www.babykidexpo.com and the race will kick off at 10 a.m.
Also returning this year will be St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Safety Street.
“This is a very large, interactive exhibit where the kids actually get to walk through streets and learn about safety,” said Deatz, noting that the exhibit features railroad crossings, barking dogs and a police officer. “People will take them through the exhibit and explain all of the different aspects of being safe when out in the world. It is a great way for parents to safely start those conversations with their kids when they are young about dangers and watching out for cars.”
Another great safety exhibit, MoChip, will provide parents with a free CD with their child’s vital information on it.
“If anything ever happens, parents can take the CD to authorities and it will go straight into the Amber Alert system,” said Deatz. “In these situations, time is of the essence so stop by their area and go through the process to gather this important information.”
The expo will also feature a variety of performances including favorite princesses and mascots from Once Upon an Occasion.
The expo will also highlight this year’s Ameren Zone Spotlight Charity, The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home.
“Every year we look around the community for people we think are making a difference,” said Deatz. “This year we learned about The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home and how they help so many young teenagers that don’t have the support to support them during this very important time of their lives. Teenage girls get to come there and live in the home and get to stay there for a period of time after their baby is born. It gives everybody a good start to their lives.”
Other events at the expo include: • The St. Charles County Ambulance District will be teaching CPR for infants and children on site. This life saving skill is so important for all parents to know how to perform. There is no charge for this and it will be taught from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. • The Activity Zone sponsored by Brain Skinz. • A petting zoo. • Pony rides. • Face painting. • A climbing wall. • Abra-Kid-Abra magic show. • Serengeti Steve’s reptile show. • Cutest Baby Contest sponsored by American Diamonds. Visit www.babykidsexpo.com for details of how to enter your 0-3 year old in the contest to win a prize pack that includes St. Louis Cardinals tickets, a photography session and more.
Deatz said that, in addition to all of the great entertainment and activities, parents would also have access to a lot of free giveaways at the expo.
“There will be formula giveaways, lots of diapers will be given away, we will be giving away a car seat, and you can even to register for a trip to Mexico,” she said. “Coming through this event you will receive a lot of free samples, advice and coupons.”
Deatz said parents should plan for at least an hour to visit all of the booths at the event and then additional time to catch some of the performances and other fun exhibits.
“My favorite part of it is when someone comes up to me and they have met somebody that is really going to make a change in their lives,” she added. “Please come by and meet with these local companies that are here and have so much to offer. Whether it is a local store down the street that you did not know about or nonprofit or facilities, just come and connect and have fun at the same time.”
Deatz said there are still several vendor spaces open for the event as well.
Sponsors include: Barnes Jewish St. Peters Hospital, Children’s at Progress West Hospital, Brunswick Zone XL, Ameren, Metro PCS, Primrose Academy, Academy of the Sacred Heart, British Swim School, St. Charles County Ambulance District, St. Charles City County Library District, Proctor & Gamble, Upper Limits, Brainskinz, Promotions Pronto, Community News, My Cottleville, Sprout and About, Kids Out and About, Fun 4 Kids Stl.
For more information about the Baby Kid Expo, please visit www.babykidexpo.com or call 1-866-654-EXPO (3976).