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Petting zoo, games along festival's children's activities

WORTHINGTON -- Crafts, clowns, games, contests, prizes, pinata breaking and even a petting zoo were all a part of Saturday's children's activities at the International Festival in Worthington.

"Every year we seem to get more and more kids coming to the festival," said Sherrie Adolph, coordinator of children's activities. "The YLVC students and students from the Collaborative have worked really hard to make new games."

The 4-H petting zoo was a big hit.

"The kids have really enjoyed it," said Nikki Hodapp, of Adrian, who is a summer intern with the Nobles County 4-H program. "A lot of these kids do not get a chance to see animals."

Hodapp brought her 3-week-old calf, Avalanche, for the petting zoo. He seemed to be content sleeping on the grass as the Nobles County Government Center lawn.

"Several people asked if he was real," she said.

4-Her Tayla Edgar brought Snickers, her 16-year-old miniature horse.

"He loves things like this," said Edgar. "People pet him, and he gets food."

Adults and children were eager to learn about Millie and Pete, two giant black African millipedes owned by the Kris and Tim Doeden family.

"They are the garbage collectors of the rain forest," Tim told onlookers.

Some visitors were even brave enough to let the millipedes crawl on their arm.

Ben Doeden had to assure people that his pet ball python snake was friendly.

"A lot of people are scared to touch it at first but after we explain about it they touch it," said Ben. "Right now he is a little over 3 feet and he might get 5 or 6 feet long."

A Peruvian guinea pig, a hedgehog, a goat, chickens and a baby pig were also on hand for children and adults to enjoy.

"The petting zoo has been wonderful," said Nichole Paladie, who helps with children's activities. "Many thanks to the 4-H groups for bringing their animals."

At the arts and craft tables, children were busy hammering nails and painting rain sticks.

"They are putting nails in them so when they move it up and down you can hear the noise," explained Mayra Pineles, a member of Dynamic 507, who volunteered to help with Saturday's children's activities. "It sounds like rain. Then they paint it and decorate it however they want."

Nine-year-old Autumn Eatinger of Worthington was having fun playing competitive games like the three-legged race, gunny sack races and an egg and spoon race.

"My favorite animal here today is the pig," she said. "I like pigs for some odd reason. My dogs name is Piggy."