By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The annual Kiwanis Enormous Equipment Playground (KEEP) event will be held at the Marshfield Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The event is a chance for children to see and in some cases get hands-on experience with construction equipment brought in by area companies. Kiwanis member Mark Vieth said that KEEP is the biggest event Kiwanis puts on all year.
He added that Donna Martin was the originator of the event.
“The first year she really got it off the ground and got it going. So it was really her inspiration that got it started. Since that time we’ve got more people involved with planning,” Vieth said.
The inaugural KEEP event was in 2008, and Martin said that attendance for the event is generally around 1,000 people. Martin, who works at Sternweis & Sons in Marshfield, said that it was her experience in the construction industry that led her to believe this event could become popular.
“Being involved with the construction industry, I have had the opportunity to see young children light up when they see equipment,” Martin said.
She added, “It gives me so much joy to see kids having such a great time and watching parents and grandparents enjoying this time spent with the little ones. What makes KEEP so special is then after the event, the Kiwanis Club is able to help out other organizations benefiting children. We are so indebted to the business owners and contractors who take time from their busy schedules to bring equipment. Without them we would not be able to have KEEP.”
Vieth said that are many activities for children to participate in throughout the event.
“We bring in construction equipment from local construction companies, equipment that the kids can either look at and see, or even there may be a couple things they can maybe climb in and sit down in. They (children) do some hands-on activities. They build a brick wall. They make concrete cakes. They pan for gold,” Vieth said.
There will be an inflatable bounce house for children to play in as well as concessions if people would like to have lunch at the event. Ministry Healthcare’s Spirit helicopter will also be on display.
Money raised at the event will go towards the Kiwanis Club and the organizations that Kiwanis supports. All local clubs that have helped organize and support the event also get a share of the proceeds.
Vieth said he enjoys the event because it makes a difference in children’s lives.
“It’s always good to serve in the community. As far as our Kiwanis club goes, I mean, it’s great to work together as a group at an event this big,” Vieth said. “Kiwanis’ mission is to serve the youth of the community, and so the bottom line is doing something to reach out to kids, and I think you know that’s why I got started in the first place is it gives kids a hands-on experience to something they might not otherwise see.”
The cost of the event is $5 for ages 13 and older and $3 for ages 12 and under. Those looking to volunteer to help with KEEP should visit http://marshfieldwikiwanis.org/.