OHSWEKEN – The 8th Annual Lil Kids Count Mid-winter Celebration commenced at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena on Friday, January 22, offering an evening of fun, food and prizes for families.
Different play areas, bouncy castles and several performances were open for families to enjoy. Meanwhile, in the banquet section of the arena, a buffet of food adhering to the Healthy Roots traditional food guide was offered to nurture those in attendance.
Arli Harrison from Six Nations Health Promotion and Nutrition explained that the event is one that brings forth a lot of collaborative power, which is always rewarding in the end.
“We have a really great working group, and a really great relationship between all of the agencies here,” she said. “So, it’s nice to see a positive response from the community, and it’s nice to see a lot of people come out and enjoy the day,” she said.
Harrison explained that last year, the event received a great turn out with over 300 people in attendance, adding that each year is a true group effort with many council departments participating.
“This is our eighth annual Lil Kids Count event, and we usually start planning in Fall for the event that comes around by January,” explained Harrison, mentioning that they make sure to pin the date around Mid-winter time. “Health Services, Social Services, Six Nations Police, the Day Care are all involved so it’s a collaboration with everyone,” she said. “All of the different organizations plan their own individual activities. Our only request is that they are creative, interactive and can involve all age groups between zero and six,” she said.
At the centre of the arena floor, Jamieson Elementary School students performed Iroquoian dances in full traditional regalia. Soon after, the Old Mush Singers performed Iroquoian social songs, which added a strongly cultural aspect to the event.
In the upper banquet Hall, Anne Marie, a registered dietitian from Six Nations Health Promotion, estimated that about two hundred people alone came to the banquet hall to eat.
“I organized with the caterer exactly what we wanted, and they complied with whatever we asked for,” she said, mentioning that they used the Healthy Roots guide to make the menu. “We’ve got veggie kabobs, three sisters soup, corn mush and berries, turkey meatballs, and roasted squash. We also have fruit kabobs for dessert; all of it is following the Healthy Roots initiative. There’s a few fruits that aren’t on the list, but we just needed a little variety for the kids,” she said, explaining that they also offered apple sauce for the children not yet eating solid food.
The event was filled with laughter and smiles, as children went from bouncing in the bouncy areas, to getting their faces painted; leaving with the promise that they can enjoy again next year.