Feats and treats

Families gather in Old Town, Downtown for evening of fun
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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Cousins Adryan and Shelby Kindice participated in some friendly competition Saturday evening. Adryan, 11, and Shelby, 8, tested their hula-hooping skills in a contest held in the Union Bank parking lot, just one of the kid-friendly activities offered during the ninth-annual Family Night Out. After proving that they could both keep their hoops going, the competition stepped up a notch as the two Auburn youths were asked to blow up a balloon while hooping. Shelby’s green balloon kept getting bigger while Adryan’s kept flying out of his mouth. Needless to say, Shelby won the contest, but both cousins walked away with prizes in the form of handfuls of candy. “It was kinda hard to blow up the balloon and not use my hands,” Shelby, the winner, said. “I just kept blowing and blowing and I was trying to keep hula hooping and hula hooping.” Smoky skies — which actually made way for the slightest shade of blue — didn’t appear to keep too many families away from Downtown Auburn Saturday evening. Not far from where Shelby Kindice celebrated her hula-hooping victory, Rebecca Stern, 9, of Auburn, perched over a square of parking lot, using sidewalk chalk to create one of many Chalk-A-Lot! masterpieces. “I’m drawing nature. I drew a tree, a rainbow, the sun and some grass. I hope I get to do animals,” she said, chalk in hand. What was fun about Chalk-A-Lot!? “You get to create your own thing,” she said. Bob Stern, Rebecca’s father, appreciated that Auburn Family Night Out afforded parents and children the opportunity to have fun for next to nothing — many activities were provided, free of charge.” “There’s certainly not a lot that’s free,” he said. “You go out and it’s $100 bucks.” Nearby, the Sugar Plump Fairies blew bubbles into the air and had fun with the boys and girls who stopped by their booth. Fairy Fran Haynes asked little ones to pose for a photo before squirting them with a toy camera filled with water. Haynes said the fairies have been a part of Auburn Family Night Out for the past few years, but said Saturday’s event was the first time they had been asked to judge Chalk-A-Lot! “We’ll have to do a fairy huddle,” she said with a smile, when asked about judging. Haynes explained why she’s fond of Family Night Out. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see parents and kids out together and having some old-fashioned type fun,” she said. Jeanie Griffin, of Auburn, brought daughter Kelsey, 6, and son Zack, 9, to Downtown Auburn Saturday evening. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids, and they really enjoy it,” she said while her children played a fishing game in the parking lot at East Placer and High streets. As a parent, Griffin enjoyed “just seeing my kids having a great time, and all the stuff they get to see.” Kelsey and Zack kicked off their Family Night Out experience at with Chalk-A-Lot!, big brother opting to chalk out a house while little sister used the parking-lot canvas to re-create her pet cat Snuggles. “There’s all kinds of fun stuff you can do,” Shelby said. She continued the fun with a pony ride in the Wells Fargo parking lot before heading down to the parking lot behind City Hall. The clock tower at Lincoln Way and High Street served as a stage during Saturday’s festivities. The little toe-tappers from Auburn Recreation District’s Come Dance With Me performed their numbers under the direction of teacher Paula Duffy, who also acted as emcee. “These are really seasoned little lovely ladies,” Duffy said, introducing Juliana Bellissimo, Ellie Emerick, Dakotah Behrendt and Kate Riccardelli, who danced to “Welcome to the ’60s” from “Hairspray.” What made the dance routine so fun? “Just dancin’,” Dakotah, age 5, said. Kate, 7, also enjoyed herself. “It was fun having all the people watch us,” she said. Kate’s dad, Steve Riccardelli, got a kick out of watching his daughter perform. He said the post-dance plan was to explore some of Family Night Out’s other offerings. “I think the variety of activities is really nice, and seeing people out strolling is nice too — people you know, people you haven’t seen in a while,” he said. K. D. and Zach Ashton drove down from Colfax with their daughter Brooke, 3. Their first stop was the Auburn Police Department parking lot, a one-stop walk of all things law enforcement and more. “We’re really excited about all the cars and everything that lights up and makes noise,” K.D. said, holding her daughter’s hand. One highlight for Brooke — meeting, face to face, Carmel, a Golden Retriever who works as a search dog with Placer County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue, and petting her. “I’m playing,” Brooke said afterward. The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at, or comment online at