MASON CITY — The 2013 Winter Kids Karnival Saturday filled Southbridge Mall with children participating in activities such as juggling, cheerleading and crafts.

Sponsored by the Mason City Recreation Department, the Karnival offers a way for families to have fun indoors when it’s cold outside, participants said.

“She could sit there and work for hours,” said Randy Banken of Mason City, as his daughter, Hayden, 4, worked over a table making pictures with ink stamps, stickers and cutouts.

“It’s good entertainment.”

He showed a house Hayden had made earlier at a different activity booth using colored foam pellets.

Families also took time out to watch the entertainment throughout the 4-hour event as Levey the Great performed magic acts, Tiny Tot and Mini Cheerleaders led cheers, students at the Mason City Black Belt Academy gave demonstrations, Mason City Curves led exercises and the Hanson Family Jugglers of Kanawha did some fancy juggling.

A bounce house from the Mason City Youth Center was a popular place, too.

Trisha Howe of Mason City came with her husband and children because the activity provided something different to do, she said.

“It’s a chance to blow off energy. It’s been cold out all week.”

Their girls had tried karate and watched cheerleading and were ready to try painting now, Howe said.

Macy Dodge, 9, of Mason City, was one of about a dozen mini cheerleaders for the Mason City Recreation Department who performed a series of cheers for the crowd.

“I think we did OK,” she said afterward. “We have lots of fun.”

The cheerleaders had practiced together three or four times to get ready, she said.

McKenzie Myers, 9, of Mason City, also took part in the cheerleading.

“I think it’s a really good sport and good exercise,” she reflected. “And you can get used to performing in front of people.”

At an activity sponsored by Crisis Intervention Service, McKenzie and her sister, Abby, 5, made fingerprints using paint.

Lettering above the fingerprints reminded children to use their hands “to hug, not to hit.”

Meanwhile in Center Court, the Mark and Christa Hanson Family Jugglers drew a large crowd of parents and children, many sitting on the mall floor, to watch juggling demonstrations.

Soon the children were invited to try juggling with colorful gauze scarves.

Rachel Herman, Recreation Department assistant program coordinator, said she was happy with the turnout and the participation by numerous agencies and organizations.

“Every booth has been well-attended,” she said.

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