ARAPAHOE, Colo. Some 4,000 members and visitors attended the Arapahoe Colorado Stake Family Fair during which Primary children concluded a monthslong service project by filling a wishing well with more than 150,000 coins collected to aid in the drilling of wells in Africa.
State Sen. Bruce Caims proclaimed the day, held on Sept. 11, the anniversary of terrorist attacks on America, an appropriate recognition of those who have preserved freedoms. Paul Tauer, former mayor of Aurora, Colo., and his wife, Kate, added that the fair was a wonderful celebration of the family.
Greeting dignitaries at the event, which was held, in part, to honor those who serve in police and fire departments as well as in the military, were Primary General President Coleen K. Menlove and Linda Smith of Church Humanitarian Services.
"You told us this would be a special day," Sister Menlove said to those at the fair. "We were excited to come, but there is no way we could have anticipated what we experienced today."
The visitors from Salt Lake City were delighted to meet the Primary children who had spent several months collecting pennies to help those in Africa have safer drinking water. As children filled a wishing well with the coins of various value, Sisters Menlove and Smith listened to children tell how they raised money for the wells. Some did chores. Others sold lemonade and chocolate-covered bananas. A few asked friends and neighbors if they would like to help.
One neighbor offered a 4-year old boy a $20 bill for the wells. He refused, saying that the children were collecting only pennies. The neighbor then procured $20 in pennies and took them to the boy. Another child said her job was to search her home for loose change. Each day she would find more and more. She confided that she believed her father was leaving the money for her to find.
The scope of the fair was wide with activities geared to entertain the youth. Some U.S. Marines brought a large truck for the fair-goers to inspect. The National Guard erected a climbing wall that challenged teenagers. A dunk tank attracted energetic youth who wanted to alternately dunk leaders and then take their turn on the seat. A moon walk, bungee runs, Velcro wall, obstacle courses, and other activities entertained visitors.
The stake center was filled with exhibits featuring Church programs and activities that introduced visitors to Scouting, family history, the Book of Mormon, and humanitarian efforts of the stake. The fair concluded with a concert by the Colorado Mormon Chorale, which performed patriotic music.
During the day's events, one neighbor called out, "You Mormons really know how to throw a party."
This is the second year the stake has held a family fair. Members of the local fire department, who brought a fire truck for the children to inspect, called out, "We were here last year. We wouldn't have missed this for anything."
The next day a number of visitors were in Church.