Adriano Crosa, 4, centre, tries on a hardhat while playing in the bucket on a bucket trolley during Children’s Day activities in Loveland, Thursday March 2, 2023. Traffic worker Jerry Hatten, right, stands by to help and answer questions. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)
There was all fun and games at the Chilson Center on Thursday afternoon as the City of Loveland and the Thompson Schools celebrated the 21st annual Children’s Day. For two hours, city and district officials hosted youth-focused activities, crafts and performances to celebrate childhood and all its wonders.
“It’s had a few changes over the years,” said Kerry Helke, senior coordinator of Loveland Parks and Recreation. “But for the past few years, we’ve done it here at Chilson, inside and out. … It’s two hours of chaos, but it’s good chaos.”
Children’s Day was the vision of longtime Loveland resident Annie Hall, who believed children deserve a holiday of their own. In 2001, their vision became a reality when the Colorado state legislature passed Joint Resolution 01-015, designating the first Wednesday of March for observance. Hall died in 2014 at the age of 100, but Loveland continues to honor her vision.
The 21st edition of Children’s Day brought hundreds of children and their parents to Chilson to experience the youthful side of the town.
The fun started in the parking lot with a display of vehicles and heavy equipment from Loveland Water and Power and Public Works including a snow plow, garbage truck and rainwater extractor, among others. Children also lined up for their chance to explore a TSD school bus and Loveland Fire Rescue Authority locomotive.
Another popular stop was a municipal bucket truck, which caught the eye of Adriano Crosa, 4, who was playing in the bucket with his sister Leonora, 1, while his parents Shelby and Jose looked on. The family came to the event after Leonora’s gymnastics class, and the work trucks had proved a tacky attraction.
“It was hard to get her off,” Shelby Crosa said.
“It’s like a child’s first impression of growing up,” added Jose Crosa.
The fun and games continued in Chilson’s large gymnasium, although some were accompanied by an accompanying lesson. Among them were Loveland Water and Power’s Jonathan Martin and Jake Hewson, who demonstrated the dangers of electricity using a scale model of power lines and action figures.
Loveland Utility Accounting Manager Jim Lees also educated children and parents about the dangers of local flooding and gave out rain gauges so they can keep an eye on rainfall.
Other stops included the Loveland Museum, which challenged children to fire their imaginations with an art project or their brains with a history quiz. Open Lands and Trails featured their display of native wildlife skins and other outdoor treasures.
“We just went and looked at the antlers,” said Annie Fountain, who was there with her daughter Etta. “That was really neat. It was cool to see the antlers and horns of the bighorn sheep and actually hold and touch them.”
There was also plenty of room for free play with soccer balls, hula hoops, oversized board games, superhero masks and more.
“She really loved just playing with all the other kids here,” Fountain said of her daughter, adding that her favorite part of the afternoon was “a bunch of kids running around happily.”
For more information on Loveland’s annual Children’s Day, including a video by founder Annie Hall, visit lovgov.org/services/parks-recreation/events/children-s-day