The Perry Public Library hosted the first combined kickoff effort of both the annual KidsFest intertwined with the library’s Summer Reading Program on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free-event to the public offered a plutheral of activities ranging from a petting zoo featuring a two-month-old miniature mule to mini-golfing inside the library.


The family event located at Railroad Street, the Perry Public Library, and Carnegie Library Museum, brought in an estimated crowd of 520 attendees Library Director, Mary Murphy said.


The all-age event featured face-painting, a petting zoo, walking magic show, a scavenger event, games, a construction theme photo-op, crafts, and more.


“I was asked earlier this year if the Public Library would coordinate the event,” Murphy said.


KidsFest would continue to reside as a kid-friendly afternoon featuring various games and entertainment, but would also celebrate and kickoff the beginning of this year’s summer reading program, “Build a Better World.”


Previously, KidsFest was put on by volunteers of the Carnegie Library Museum. Last year the event served as a memorial event for John Glass, a member who helped organize the summer event in the past.


During the Saturday event, children from all ages got the opportunity to explore the different activities put on by organizations within Perry.


“I spent a lot of time recruiting everybody,” Murphy mentioned.


With a goal of staying local, the KidsFest event brought in efforts from the Perry Public Library, Friends of the Perry Public Library, Hometown Heritage, City of Perry, Perry Kiwanis, Perry Lions, Perry Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, Dallas County Hospital, Big Red Radio, Hy-Vee KIDSFIT Motorhome, Perry Volunteer Fire Department, Dallas County Conservation, Hispanics United for Perry, Everyone Wins Iowa!, Crystal Clear Water of Perry, and Rhonda Olson with the popcorn stand.


Donors and Sponsors from the event include Tyson Fresh Meats, Perry Fareway, Perry Hy-Vee, Hotel Pattee, Wiese Corporation, Progressive Foundry, Osmundson, Percival Scientific, Beta Sigma Phi – Xi Pi Chapter, Kum ‘N Go, Casey’s, followed by a donation from the Bock Family Foundation.


The Bock Foundation donation helped bring in out of town guests who created balloon animals as well as those who painted creations on faces.


Organizations were sought out as a way to stay in touch with the summer reading program’s “Build a Better World” theme; one Murphy says ties directly in with what the community does for Perry.


“I thought bringing in the service organizations would show the kids what they do,” Murphy said. “I think they do a lot for Perry.”


Afterwards, the summer reading program received an overall increase in participants.


“I think we’re going to have a record year in summer reading,” Murphy said.


This year’s KidsFest was a success, Murphy discussed.


“What I’ve found in Perry is that if you’re doing something great, and have a really great idea especially for children, people will join you and help out,” Murphy said. “We’re all building our community.”