Kids ‘go wild’ at Leach Garden Fair

Look, and you’ll know why families travel from far and wide to attend the Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Fair …

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter and volunteer Nana Bellerud discover from where their guests have come. One family was from Seattle!

Story and photos by David F Ashton
Families from the greater Portland area – from Hillsboro to Gresham – traveled to visit Pleasant Valley in outer East Portland, to attend the 2014 edition of the Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Fair.

The event, held in the Leach Upper Meadow on May 17, was alive with activities and music as kids met baby-goat kids, participated in games, made crafts, and visited exotic creatures.

In the Leach Upper Meadow, both kids and adults find fun adventure.

Tyler Case of Brookside Farm and Garden steadies “Long Ears” the goat, while Tara Lilley meets another “kid”, along with mom Sierra Meadows.

In the craft tent are the Moyer family: Brett and Tracie, with their girls Emily and Samantha.

“Our theme this year is ‘Wild Critters’,” grinned the fair’s organizer, Leach Botanical Garden Education Coordinator Janice Jenkins.

“We have animals from the Oregon Zoo and, the Audubon Society of Portland, and a volunteer brought baby goats and chickens,” Jenkins shared with East Portland News. “The activities are for kids primarily, ages one through twelve.”

Again this year, Leach Garden Friends volunteer Ron Goodwin hosts the popular “Slug Races”.

Colton Summers pets the rooster brought by Allison O’Sullivan, Youth Education Manager at Zenger Farm.

Oregon Zoo Program Animal Staff Bree Winchell shows a lizard to Beck Salinger, held here by dad Josh.

It is fun, but it’s also educational, Jenkins remarked. “Part of the idea is to get kids and their siblings outside, and bring their parents with them. Because of this year’s animal-related theme, youngsters can learn about farming.”

The best part for her, Jenkins related, “is being outside with the kids. Many of these kids come for other events; it’s great to see the families and the kids all together here, having a great time.”

Enlivening the event is the Possum 6-Pack String Band, which entertains with Americana music.

Kids get ready to head out for a “Ladybug Hike” led by Chrissy Larson of Portland Parks & Recreation.

On the way out, Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter smiled as he compiled information from sheets, near the midpoint of the event.

“We typically get many ‘local’ guests, but we’re also seeing many visitors from deep in Washington County and all over Multnomah County. We’re really pleased to see the turnout from such a widespread area to this wonderful family event.”

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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