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Thousands come out to play
Family Fun Festival a hit at Fowler
Shanon Roberts, a West Forsyth High School DECA club member, paints a paw print on the cheek of Dylan Anselmo, 3, during the Play at the Park Family Fun Festival at Fowler Park. The club is raising money for the Humane Society of Forsyth County. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

It could have been the beautiful first-day-of-fall weather or the promise of free fun for families.

Either way, Fowler Park once again drew a crowd Sunday for the 11th annual Play at the Park Family Fun Festival, a free event put on by Forsyth County.

Brian Haney said he came for a second year in a row to spend some time with his kids.

“It’s a good, fun family event,” he said, as his son Nolan, 3, waited on a balloon creation.

Tommy Johns, a balloon magician, said he’s attended the county’s parks and recreation event for 10 years. He enjoys meeting all the happy families and making balloons for all ages.

“I’ll have grown-ups stand in line without a kid in sight,” Johns said.

Families also enjoyed performances, train rides, sweets, inflatables and even simply park’s playground.

Jon Lyday, feeding a goat at the petting zoo with daughter Emily, 3, said they were glad to have “something fun to do outside” on such a beautiful day.

Several people also visited the park with their four-legged family members, something the West Forsyth High School DECA club expected.

The club had a face-painting booth to raise money for the Humane Society of Forsyth County.

Hannah Crowe said she and classmate Mackenzie Ziegler wanted to do a community service project benefitting animals, a soft spot in their hearts.

“We figured this would be a great opportunity for us to see all of the animal lovers,” said Crowe of the park festival.

Organizer Laura Pate estimated that about 3,000 people attended the festival.

Pate said several vendors commented that the event was well put together, and she felt like it was a great day for all.

“I saw a lot of smiles on kids’ and adults’ faces,” she said.