Michigan Potato Industry Commission went to the Kalamazoo Heart Walk Sept. 26
to help youngsters have fun, burn off energy—and learn a lot about potatoes.
sponsorship of the Kids’ Zone at the Heart Walk was a blast,” said Adam
Novello, the Commission’s business/program manager who was in charge of the
project. “We were able to reach kids and
their parents through games and food and activities.”
American Heart Association (AHA) conducts Heart Walks in communities around the
nation in conjunction with local chapters.
The Kalamazoo event offered a walking experience for adults for an hour
and a half last Saturday morning at the downtown Arcadia Creek Festival Site
and Amphitheatre, but children were also included. As the AHA website explains, the goal is to “promote
physical activity and heart-healthy living in a fun, family environment.”
while parents were engaged in hiking, the Commission was engaged in keeping
their kids occupied with a wide assortment of activities centered around the
potato. “We had an art tent and a food
tent and a ‘kids dig potatoes’ station,” Novello said. “There was an inflatable obstacle course. We even had a cannon. There was a lot going on.”
the art tent, he said, there were potato stamps formed from potatoes cut in
half and then cut away more to leave a raised surface as on rubber stamps. The potato stamps were dipped in paint so the
children could stamp images on paper and then display their creations.
art work filled one of our stations,” Novello said. “We also had a station where kids would dig
for potatoes and win a prize, and all the kids loved that one. There was a lot of excitement there. The cannon got a lot of interest too. It shot out ‘Michigan Potato’ T-shirts and
foam spuds. The kids liked to grab those.”
food tent, he said, was intended to bring in both children and parents. “We had recipes there from the potato
competition we sponsor with the Michigan Restaurant Association,” he said,
adding that there was a lot of enthusiastic sampling going on.
noted that the Commission’s sponsorship at the Heart Walk—a first-time
endeavor—was a natural. “The American
Heart Association is centered on education and health, and so are we,” he
said. “Having a healthy lifestyle and
making healthy choices is so important, and we both share that. Our goal is to promote better eating patterns—obviously
with potatoes—and daily exercise and healthy habits for kids and grown-ups
alike. The Heart Walk was a great event,
and we were proud to be a part of such an important cause. We went all out on this event, and I think
both the children and their parents appreciated our efforts.”
of photos came out of the Kids’ Zone activities, and many are posted at the
Commission’s Facebook site, which can be accessed at facebook.com/mipotato.