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Wooden hearts + plush snowballs = happy kids

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

The Peru Public Library may sound like an unlikely place for a snowball fight.

But thanks to the Miami County Indiana Democratic Women, a battle for the ages raged inside on Saturday night featuring about 500 plush “fauxballs” that thrilled kids young and old.

The event was one of many taking place in the city, part of ReDiscover Downtown Peru’s latest installment of Second Saturdays.

Folks at the library built fortresses, piled the snowballs into giant red buckets, and dove across the floor to avoid getting blasted.

The snowballs carry enough weight that older kids – or adults – can toss them pretty fast.

But they’re also soft, so kids can’t get hurt using them. “Even if they get hit in the face,” said volunteer Melinda Saul.

Some parents were so impressed they asked where they could buy their own. “These snowballs are the greatest things,” Saul said. “They’re having so much fun with them.”

Miami County Indiana Democratic Women member Sharon Edwards thought of the idea and purchased them for the event. 

“Some of these snowballs may never be found in the library,” Edwards said.

Over at City Hall, kids crafted unique wooden hearts for Valentine’s Day with Carpenter’s Union 615. 

The local union members design the ideas each month, provide the wood, nails and hammers, and prepare all of the materials in advance – such as creating perfectly shaped hearts for this month’s installment. 

Then the kids finished the job by hammering the three hearts to a board, and moving on to a decorating station.

The unique building lessons impart basic carpentry skills on the kids. “We put the seed in there,” said carpenter Larry Williamson. “They’re never too young to start.”

Creating picture frames, wooden snowmen and tool boxes have been among children’s favorite activities during other Second Saturdays, he said.

In past events, the carpenters have helped put together 100 projects in a single hour. About 10 children had stopped by 6:15 p.m. – perhaps discouraged by Saturday’s icy conditions.

“We normally get a good run,” Williamson, who was joined by three other carpenters from the union and other volunteers for the event. “We enjoy it. It’s for the kids.”

Local volunteer Dennis Eckerly passed out cotton candy on behalf of the International Circus Hall of Fame. Eckerly has previously helped out with a few Kid’s Corner events, including writing letters to veterans in November.

Maconaquah High School Seniors Sydne Leary and Abby Ravesloot volunteered as part of their National Honor Society requirements, and helped the children decorate their hearts with beads and stickers.

“It’s been fun, and the cotton candy was good,” Ravesloot said.

Most of the children were making the hearts for their moms, grandmas or other relatives, she said.

Sydne was impressed with the beaded heart design that young Mason Camden created.

Next month, Williamson is entertaining the idea of designing wooden shamrocks, and possibly Easter bunnies for the Second Saturday after that.