Two weeks after The Children’s Playhouse annual celebration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), parents are still hearing from their children what a great time they had at BuildFest 2016.
“My two-year-old is still talking about how much fun the giant bubble activity was,” said local parent Melissa Greaves. “This was our first BuildFest, and we all had a wonderful time!”
BuildFest is a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival. It is the biggest event hosted annually by The Children’s Playhouse, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving children, parents, and caregivers in the High Country.
This year’s event was held April 9 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the gymnasium of the new Watauga High School. This year’s event brought over 1,200 attendees from as far as Charlotte, N.C. More than 200 amazing volunteers from Appalachian State University and the community contributed to the success of the community event.
“BuildFest involves months of planning” said Playhouse Executive Director Kathy Parham, “but it’s worth it to see how much the kids and parents love it. Someone heard a kid say, ‘when I die, this is where I want to go.’”
Each year BuildFest offers activities suitable for all ages, as well as activities specifically designed for preschool, grades K-3, and grades 4-6. Organizations and individuals from both App State and the Watauga County community served as activity partners by sponsoring and running various STEAM activities throughout the day.
“BuildFest brings together a variety of organizations from our community and shows how important a wide range of experiences can help build a child’s confidence in making healthy choices as well as igniting their love for learning,” said Courtney Baines Smith, Director of Lettuce Learn.
BuildFest 2016 activity partners from App State included PSEA (Professional Construction Estimators Association of America), Child Advocacy Club, Physics & Astronomy Club, the Physics, Geology, Chemistry, and Art departments, the Aging, Growth, & Experience (AGE) Labs, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), and Appalachian Educators.
Brooke Hester of the ASU department of physics jumped at the chance to participate, explaining, “This is the most important thing we can do as educators. If kids realize that STEM is fun, especially minorities, then we can help to ensure a diverse skill set amongst our future educators, scientists, engineers, and legislators.”
Community partners included the Watauga County Library, Thinkers Linkers by Murrah Woodcraft, Boone Bouncers Jump Rope Team & Club, Lynn Mountain Farm, BRAHM (Blowing
Rock Art & History Museum), Mountain Alliance, The Children’s Council, Lettuce Learn, and the Watauga County Extension Center.
The Children’s Playhouse would like to thank OP Smiles Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentists Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn, and Hardaway and the North Carolina Science Festival for their generous sponsorship of BuildFest 2016. Other sponsor include ECRS The Retail Success Company, Mast General Store, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Boone Drug, Bluebird Exchange, LifeStore Insurance, Pell’s Angels Painting, Blue Ridge Pediatric; Eggers, Eggers, Eggers, & Eggers; Galileo’s; Boone Paint, and Wendy’s Tar Heel Capital.
A special shout-out goes out to all of the volunteers that made this event successful, including 150 volunteers from ASU’s sororities and fraternities.
About The Children’s Playhouse
Located at 400 Tracy Circle near downtown Boone, The Children’s Playhouse provides an enriching play environment for children from birth to age eight while at the same time offering parents and caregivers friendly support in the important job of raising children. It the only children’s museum in the High CountryDaily admission is $5 per person. A one year Playhouse Passport Membership for $125 includes admission to the Playhouse and half-price admission to more than 150 children’s museums nationwide. Scholarship memberships are available for families that meet income guidelines. For more information, call The Children’s Playhouse at (828) 263-0011, like the Facebook page (http://facebook.com/Childrens.Playhouse), follow on Twitter and Instagram (@GoPlayhouse), or visit the website (http://goplayhouse.org).