MARCO ISLAND — Family Fun Day at Marco Lutheran brought families, games, complimentary refreshments and WAY-FM for a good time in the sun on Saturday. Moms wrestled tandem strollers across the lawn, while kids enjoyed the big slide and the bounce house, and knocked down the enormous bowling pins with an equally gigantic ball.
“We want to let the community know we’re here,” said director of family outreach Faith Rattei, and the event was hard to miss, on the front lawn of the church along North Collier Blvd. “Everything’s free, and it’s open to everyone.”
The other, primary purpose was just to bring families together for some fun, as the name implies, and the church succeeded there as well.
After all, what could be better than free ice cream, especially when it comes out of a traditional wheeled cart with a big umbrella, boldly proclaiming “Ice Cream” in block letters. It’s enough to encourage a kid to learn to read. Ken Hilbert handed out the popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, finding no shortage of customers on a warm, sunny day.
Grace Fenelon got some ice cream, and got some on her face, although mom Julie was there to dab it off right away, in return for sharing a lick or two. Hot dogs and pizza were also on the menu, and twins Austin and Ryan Metcalf, age 3, wearing matching shirts, shorts and caps, decided they really were having a good time once they were each given a slice.
Blowing bubbles was a popular pastime, with a wading pool-sized tub of bubble soap, and giant wands there for the grabbing. Tyler Chan, 3, insisted on using the more strenuous blowing method, despite his parents pointing out the easier technique of waving the wand and letting the wind do the work. A bubble machine also operated non-stop, so bubbles were floating all around the lawn.
Penelope Able, 7, showed the arm of a future big league pitcher, accurately putting one projectile after another through the hole in the elephant-painted board in the beanbag toss. Her dad, Justin, held little sister Opal, 7 months, the youngest of their seven – so far – children. Big sister Ezebella, 8, showed great technique on the giant bowling activity. Eschewing the soccer kick of the younger kids, she picked up the enormous ball and tossed it, scoring a strike. Brother Dublin Able, 4, made repeated trips up and down the giant inflatable slide, once it was re-inflated after sagging to the ground.
Joy Summers of WAY-FM provided a soundtrack with her sound truck, and games for the youngsters as well. She gave Tabitha Ubertaccio, 5, a second chance at the wheel of fortune, when the first came up empty.
It was a great day for fun in the sun, and if you were driving past down Collier Blvd., with your kids in the car, they would definitely want to stop in. And that was kind of the point.