Third annual Preschool Fair and Expo is Saturday
January is a time for new beginnings. For many parents, those beginnings mean getting their young children registered for preschool. But that’s not always an easy task.
And really, that’s what Woodbury moms Jen McKinnon and Lindsey Thompson thought a few years ago, when they came up with the idea for the Woodbury Preschool and Fair and Expo.
Now coming into its third year as an annual — and increasingly popular — event, the Woodbury Preschool Fair and Expo will be held this coming weekend at Liberty Ridge Elementary School. It will feature more than 60 booths about all things preschool in Woodbury.
This is how it started: the two moms are members of the MOMS Club of Woodbury - South, and were at a club event a few years back. They had both moved to the community several months earlier, and found out that typically, parents around Woodbury are registering their kids for preschool in January.
The only problem was, as new moms in the area, they didn’t know much about the preschools offered in the community. They didn’t, either one of them, know what to look for when selecting a preschool. While there are many from which to choose, each is a little different, and offers different classes, amenities and activities.
It was a lot to take in. A lot about which to think.
“And then we said, ‘We should put together something like a college fair, but for preschools,’” Thompson said.
They brought the idea to the MOMS Club of Woodbury - South membership. Not surprisingly, it was approved, and the first Preschool Fair and Expo started to take shape.
At first, the event was opened to just the preschools in the community, and it drew about 20 preschools that wanted to participate. But then, related businesses started reaching out to the planners, asking to be involved, as well.
This year’s event is the third of its kind, and will feature 60 booths of preschools, child-centered businesses, sports associations, dance and music studios, the Washington County Library system, and more.
“This started as a preschool fair, as a way for parents to have a one-stop shop for preschools,” McKinnon said, “but we had all of these businesses coming to us and wanting to participate, so we decided to expand it.”
The event is gaining popularity around the community, too. McKinnon remembers that first year, wondering if anyone was going to show up, but then being pleasantly surprised when the doors opened to a line of people waiting to come in. The first year drew about 200 people, last year brought in about 700. This year, they’re expecting about 1,000.
“It’s been just an overwhelming feeling that there actually is a need for this,” she said.
Parents are encouraged to bring their preschool-aged children along, too. Every vendor will have something interactive for kids to do, or try, or pick up. An entertainment stage will be going all day, too, with dancers, martial arts demonstrations, a Kindermusik demonstration, and a library storytime.
A Kid Zone area will also be set up so kids can play games, do crafts and get their pictures taken from a photo booth. It’s free to participate.
The entire event is organized and sponsored by MOMS Club of Woodbury - South. McKinnon and Thompson are, not surprisingly, two of the five women who are on the central planning committee for the event.
The Woodbury Preschool Fair and Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Liberty Ridge Elementary School, 11395 Eagle View Blvd. in Woodbury. For more information, visit the website, woodburypreschoolfair.com; or like the Facebook page, facebook.com/WoodburyPreschoolFair.