After postponing the festival in June due to inclement weather, the 2023 Day of Play Family Festival took place on Saturday, September 16th – and it was a huge hit!
Thousands of people attended this year’s festival, including Massachusetts State Senator, Robyn Kennedy!
Not even a forecasted hurricane could stop us from committing to the power of play, and lucky for us it ended up being a lovely day filled with laughter, fun, and memories that will last a lifetime.
“Play speaks to the child in each of us. It has universal appeal. Play brings joy. It brings discovery,” said Kim Davenport, Edward Street Vice President of Initiatives and Aligned Programs, “It triggers the ‘good stuff’ hormones and dopamine. We are wired to play.”
Multilingual story hours with special guests
Multilingual story hours gave children the opportunity to hear the story of “Daniel’s Good Day” by Micha Archer in different languages. Readings were hosted in English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Twi.
Mayor Joseph Petty kicked off the very first story hour before handing things over to his Chief of Staff, Eliana Agudelo, who read the same story in Spanish.
Kids took home their own copy of “Daniel’s Good Day” to add to their personal, at-home libraries.
Weather couldn’t stop us!
The bubble towers were a huge hit this year, thanks to the wind. The breeze caused the bubbles to fly everywhere, resulting in lots of laughter from children, their parents, and our dedicated volunteers.
Children were also able to build their own stomp rockets and take them home, a fact that delighted many engaging in this playful activity.
“When I see the children and their parents engaged and enjoying the activities at the event it warms my heart,” said Day of Play volunteer Julie Tzipori. “The students from QCC who participate gain so much in terms of learning the importance of family engagement and making authentic connections. And, they have an opportunity to network with other professionals in the field of children and families.”
Engaging activities, phenomenal performers
Our wonderful performers added an element of musical fun to the day. Our guests enjoyed performances from acts like the Joy of Music Program, Chuck & Mud and Buds, and Crocodile River Music. Children had the opportunity to dance along with In Da Zone dancers and the Traditional Lion Dance Troupe, and got to watch Fran Flynn perform magic tricks.
Corey the Rat Man and juggler Janoah Bailin roamed Elm Park all day to play with children and their families. We also had a special visit from Buster, a mini school bus provided by Worcester Public Schools, who drove through the park via remote control to say hello to visiting play participants.
Other highlights included a visit from the Worcester Fire Department, who graciously allowed children the opportunity to climb aboard one of their own fire trucks. Head Start and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute provided coding activities for children to enjoy, and many local mascots including Baystate Bengie, Jake the Lion of the Bravehearts and Smiley from the WooSox joined us for the special day.
A huge thank you to everyone who made the day possible
The Day of Play Family Festival doesn’t happen without the extraordinary support of our community. You make this day possible, and you create joy. Thank you to our volunteers, sponsors, and amazing community organizations who created a playful learning environment.
Thank you to our incredible sponsors who helped turn our Day of Play dreams into a reality:
- Presenting Sponsors: Edward Street, Worcester Family Partnership
- Play Area Sponsors: Harr Automotive Group, Worcester Division of Public Health & the REACH Grant
- Activity Sponsors: Eastern Bank, Guild of St. Agnes, Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, National Grid, Tufts Health Plan, WebsterFive Foundation, Wegmans
- Contributing Sponsors: Avidia Bank, Baystate Savings Bank, Berkshire Bank, Country Bank, Middlesex Savings Bank, Seven Hills Foundation
- Supporting Sponsors: Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Cornerstone Bank, Herlihy Insurance Group, MAAEYC, Price Chopper | Market 32, Smileland of Westborough, YWCA of Central MA
Thank you to the Day of Play Planning Committee Members:
- Darlene Belliveau, YWCA of Central MA
- Fela De Los Santos, Worcester Family Partnership
- Amanda Gentile, Worcester Family Partnership
- Jackie Hastings, Worcester Family Partnership
- Ydalia Heimann, Worcester Division of Public Health
- Linda Jackson, Worcester Family Partnership
- Karen O'Neill, Quinsigamond Community College
- Sofia Perno, YWCA of Central MA
- Laura Polanco, Worcester Child Development Head Start
- Carlene Sherbourne, Worcester Child Development Head Start
- Gloria Sinclair, Worcester Comprehensive
- Beth Vietze, Worcester Family Partnership
- Karen Waters, Worcester Child Development Head Start
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for allowing us to engage in the power of play on such a beautiful day! We can’t wait to play again next year!