It was a day when just about anything a kid could want was there for them to enjoy.
Firetrucks. Ladders. A diver underwater and even search and rescue dogs.
Saturday, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue sponsored its 29th annual Kids’ Day, and more than 3,500 people showed up to find out about safety and have an opportunity to meet firefighters and other safety personnel.
“It’s something we really love doing,” said Ileana LiMarzi, spokesman for the CKF&R District. “From the very beginning, when we use to have this at the parking lot of a fire station, the idea has been to invite kids out to learn about safety. And to keep everything free.”
Because of many sponsors, the event is free, she said, and includes hot dogs and treats for the kids.
Marla Engelker brought out her boys Tyler, 9, Tristan, 8, and Jack, 3.
“They need to learn about being safe,” she said. “And Tyler will be 10 soon. It’s time he begin to think about knowing how to do CPR.”
The boys got down on the floor inside Presidents Hall and worked with firefighter-paramedics on small dummies, leaning about chest compressions.
“Press and count,” the firefighter said. “Good job. I think he’s gonna live.”
Many of the kids who came out with their parents were there to get free bicycle helmets that were made available by Fred Meyer and other sponsors, LiMarzi said.
“Last year we gave out about 500, but we ran out. So this year we have 650,” she said.
Firefighters and local Boy Scouts, who had been trained how to fit helmets, made sure each chid who took one home had it fitted.
“We’re so lucky to have the Boy Scouts help because this is one of the most popular things about the day,” LiMarzi said.
Angelina Daigneault brought her 4-year-old daughter Anisa to be fitted for a bike helmet.
“We’re learning a lot about safety today,” Angelina said. “She needed a helmet and I thought this was a good way to make sure she gets one that fits.”
Inside the hall, vendors gave away information about products and programs, and children could get stamps. At the end of the event, children could show their stamps and get a take-home prize — a fire helmet or a stuffed toy.
Outside, there was a bouncy house shaped like a fire engine with a ladder that doubled as a slide.
Firefighters from the IFAA Local 2819 cooked hotdogs for the kids and parents and there were demonstrations of underwater rescues, accident victims being cut from cars and how to put out a kitchens fire.
Home Depot had a booth where kids could make birdhouses or firetrucks to take with them. Lowe’s gave away plants.
A major highlight was the Airlift Northwest helicopter, along with its pilot and co-pilot.
They came in early to do some training with our crews,” said LiMarzi.
She added that many people were hoping they’d get a call, “so that they can watch the helicopter take off.”
“At the end of the day, when they do leave, everybody gathers around to watch,” she said.
Amy Larmer, of Silverdale, brought her 3-year-old son Alexander to the event after she saw a poster about it.
“I figured it would be a great way to spend a sunny day,” she said as she watched Alex climb in to inspect the Airlift Northwest helicopter. “He’s really into this. He loves trucks, ladders and helicopters. He’s your typical boy.”