Bemidji Celebrates Worldwide Day Of Play
Paul Bunyan Park in Bemidji turned into a large playground for the annual Worldwide Day of Play.
“A day to celebrate screen-free play,” said Jamie Anderson, City of Bemidji Recreation Coordinator. “So we’re trying to get kids outdoors, away from the TV.”
Through collaboration with other organizations, the campaign helps get kids outside. The event has been a staple in Bemidji since 2009 and every year has gotten bigger and better.
“Bounces houses, we’ve got free samples of Jimmy John’s sandwiches today, ” said Anderson. “We have an awesome DJ, so there’s lots of music and a couple new vendors.”
The day was full of fun for kids of all ages. They played games, blew bubbles and they lined up for the giant inflatable Ironman.
Mark Haugen and his son, Henry, were in town visiting family and decided to come out and have some fun.
“When we left he was playing on his iPad at home at grandma’s, and to get him out of the house is a lot better than just sitting in front of a TV screen or in front of an iPad, so much better, get him outside playing and interacting with other kids,” said Haugen.
When asked what his favorite thing to do at the event was, Henry responded, “Going on the bouncy house one time!”
Rewards weren’t just handed out – kids had to earn them. To enjoy a smoothie, kids had to use their energy on the bike in order to run the blender.
“You don’t have to go walk miles, you can get on a bike and you’re still having fun and getting exercise and you’re not staring at a screen,” said Nice Ride Bemidji & Wheel Being Coordinator Misty Bray.
Last year about 250 people showed up and it looks like this year was another success.
Henry could be seeing bopping around to the music, and his father laughed and said, “I think he’s having a good time.”