COLUMBIA — Slipping and falling was not an uncommon occurrence Monday at the Boone County Fair's Family Fun Night.
Children raced down a muddy path with one leg tied to their parent's as onlookers cheered and laughed. Even sawdust laid on the ground could not stop the participants from getting a little muddy.
The event drew people of all ages to the fair grounds to play old-fashioned games such as a sack race and a water balloon toss. The free event was open to children as young as three and their parents.
Elaine George, who helped organize the games, said she loves watching the kids race.
“It's my favorite part,” she said. “Everyone claps and laughs. Here, everyone is a winner.”
Various sponsors donated prizes for the children to win. Each child who participated received a prize, the largest and most coveted of which were three bicycles.
George, a daycare provider for 30 years, said she loves being around the kids and always sees families coming back every year.
“It’s an event families can do together, and that’s what’s important,” George said.
Rain kept some participants away, but committed families did not let the weather stop them.
Shanna Serio brings her five children to the event every year. Ketlin, 10; Mason, 8; and five-year-old triplets Kylar, Brennen and Kensie, all enjoy doing the events with their mother.
Mason said she enjoys having fun with her mom, while Keltin said he enjoys winning.
“I won the three-legged race,” he said with a proud grin on his face. Keltin said he also wanted to participate in the sack race and balloon toss and hoped to win those, as well.
The Serio children's cousin, three-year-old Brandt Martin, enjoyed playing in the mud more than participating in the events.
Grandparents enjoyed watching their muddy grandchildren participate in the games. Betty Cunningham said she loves to watch her 12-year-old grandchildren compete with each other. Cunningham has watched her grandchildren at the event for eight years. She said the event creates lots of memories.
“The children are so innocent,” she said with a laugh. “It’s the parents you got to watch out for.”
Cunningham’s favorite event is the watermelon-eating contest.
While grandparents watched the children race, AnnMarie Van Doren, 16 and her sister Claire Van Doren, 14, enjoyed racing other participants in the three-legged race. AnnMarie said the race hurt, but she still had fun.
“We got to the side that had no mud on purpose so other kids could get muddy," she said.
AnnMarie said she likes the event because it’s free and the games are fun. She also hopes to win a good prize this year.
“In the past, my brother got a bike,” she said. “Generally, my luck isn’t good, but hopefully I get something good today.”