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Bugs and petting zoos and stuffed animal checkups are only a few of the many attractions scheduled for the inaugural Family Festival in York next month.

The event will be hosted by Central Penn Parent, a free online and print magazine dedicated to offering fun parenting advice, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at Cousler Park in Manchester Township.

"We've been doing this festival in Harrisburg for about seven years and then a few years ago we did one in Lancaster, and we thought, hey, York shouldn't be excluded, so we decided to spread our wings and hold one in York too," said Central Penn Parent's expo manager Colleen Jones.

And York seemed to be an obvious choice for a family festival.

"York is a great family-focused community, and we are looking forward to being a part of it," said the magazine's editor, Andrea Ciccocioppo, in a news release.

Education and fun: The festival intends to offer a fun-filled day with educational opportunities for both children and their parents.

"Our goal is to connect to parents with the things they need to raise a happy future generation," Jones said. "It can be hard for parents to find out about all the things that they have access to when it comes to raising their kids. All the exhibitors are encouraged to have arts and crafts to keep the kids occupied while parents find out about what they have to offer."

There also will be a ton of fun to be had, Jones said.

"All sorts of things are going to be happening: bounce houses, live musical performances, and we'll also have Ryan the bug guy, a local entomologist who will have all sorts of creepy crawlies and pretty butterflies; we know our kids love those creepy crawlies," Jones said.

Event sponsor Memorial Hospital also will host a cooking contest, put on a healthy eating presentation and perform checkups on festival-goers' favorite stuffed ani-mals.

The festival also will boast a book corner, pony rides, petting zoos with baby animals and food trucks for refreshments.

"It also happens to coincide with National Talk like a Pirate Day, so we'll be sure to incorporate that somehow, too," Jones said.

Free: Entrance to the family-friendly festival is free, as are most of the attractions.

"Pretty much everything is free aside from the food trucks," Jones said.

"If you want to bring a picnic, you're more than welcome, that way you can truly enjoy the day for free."

Excitement for the event is growing at a rapid pace, Jones said.

"We have been completely flummoxed by the response," she said.

"We have had more than 1,000 responses to the Facebook event and are just really looking forward to having fun in York."

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com

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