By Mike Lewis, Herald Mail Media
Booths about babies were the focus Saturday as Bester Community of Hope hosted its third Babypalooza.
“Babypalooza is a fun event for caregivers. We’re celebrating families and bringing resources to moms and dads who are either expecting or (who have a child) up to the age of 5,” said Jen Younker, director of Bester Community of Hope. “It’s my favorite event.”
Bester Community of Hope is an outreach of San Mar Family and Community Services. It develops and offers strategies for positive outcomes for the children and families of the Bester Elementary School neighborhood. Among other things, it sponsors Babypalooza and the annual South Side Community Block Party.
On Saturday, vendors at the third annual Babypalooza with information on health care, safety and other services set up exhibits at Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown and talked with children, their parents and other caregivers. Some booths handed out treats, such as candy or small bags of pretzels, and others offered activities for children, such as face painting or using rubber stamps.
Within the first 30 minutes, more than 300 people had filed through the doors, organizers said.
Younker said she was pleased not only with the turnout, but also with the community-building aspect of the event.
“This is truly a depiction of what it looks like when the community comes together,” she said, referring to about 30 “community partners” who helped make the event possible.
She said individuals also come together at Babypalooza.
“Every year, we have people who make friends here,” she said.
Jessica Lerch of Hagerstown was among the hundreds who were looking for information. She’s due to deliver in January, she said. She spent a few minutes talking with Dr. Mutsa Nyakabau, a pediatrician with Family Healthcare of Hagerstown.
“I’m just learning a lot that I need to know to take care of a baby,” she said. “There’s a lot of information, that’s for sure.”