Kids Night Out offers evening of family fun
By Zak Hansen
Las Cruces Bulletin
It’s no question in recent years that Las Cruces’ newly revitalized Main Street Downtown has been the epicenter of some of the city’s best up-and-coming events and festivals. From the flair of the New Years’ Eve Chile Drop, which drew attention from residents and national news sources alike, to the fear and fun of each Halloween’s Zombie Walk, from the spice of fall’s Salsafest to the ice-cold brews of the New Mexico Brewers Guilds’ fall and summer beer festivals, it goes without saying that Main Street is the place to be – but “what about the children?”
Never fear – as part of its ongoing mission to promote the continued revitalization of Downtown Las Cruces through community-centered events, Project Mainstreet, the volunteer organization responsible for many of the city’s newest annual celebrations, will hold Kids Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 13, when Main Street Downtown will be transformed into a full-fledged street festival geared specifically towards Las Cruces’ youngest residents.
While all of Project Mainstreet’s events are family-friendly, according to organizer Russ Smith, Kids Night Out is the first aimed squarely at those in their early teens and younger, who often don’t have much to do at other such events.
“Certainly, Project Mainstreet’s mission is to engage the community with Main Street at large, and this year we came up with some ideas that suggested kids need their very own evening,” Smith said. Groups including the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts and the Las Cruces museums system were quick to engage and offer their support, Smith said, along with a number of local businesses, which have graciously donated time, supplies and manpower to making the inaugural Kids Night Out a success.
“We have been amazed by how much enthusiasm there has been on the part of the community to engage with that evening – not only the parents who want to see a fun night for their kids, but the people and organizations that like connecting with the community’s kid population.”
That community support has been crucial to the development of Kids Night Out, and looks to be paying off – that evening, Main Street will be filled to the brim with activities and fun for the youngsters.
There’s too much going on to cover it all, but a sampling of the happenings that night include a performance of musical classics by the Starlight Children’s Theatre Choir, one by students of Las Cruces School of Music and Dance and another by the music students of Studio A-440, late-night telescope viewing with help from students and professors in the New Mexico State University Department of Astronomy, rides on vintage iron tractors and barrel rides, a stick pony and power bicycle arena courtesy of Horse N Hound Feed N Supply, Tractor Supply Co. and LC Motorsports, arts and crafts, face-painting, movies, cartoons and much more.
There will also loads of entertaining and educational displays and demonstrations courtesy of Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, Downtown Desert Yoga teaching kids’ yoga, and dance instruction from the Groove Merchant and HD2 Hip-Hop Studio and more to be determined – lots more.
One feature of Kids Night Out Smith seems most excited about is the food – local favorite and Downtown staple food trucks will be on hand with special menus tailored just for kids, featuring items such as the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, mac ’n’ cheese-covered hot dogs and Happy Dog’s own Munster Burger, a twist on its Monster Burger.
“Don’t eat beforehand. Come hungry,” Smith said simply.
Project Mainstreet will also be able to provide every child in attendance with a gift bag filled with toys and candy, thanks to the generous donation of more than 120 toys from Las Cruces’ own Zia Comics and from toy donations the organization has received throughout the week. Project Mainsteet Committee Chairman Marissa Coronado encouraged the community to donate any new or used toys, games, children’s books and other goodies they may have lying around, “so every kid gets to leave with something.”
For more information on Kids Night Out, Project Mainstreet or its upcoming events, visit www.facebook.com/Project-MainstreetLC
or www.projectmainstreetlc. org.
Zak Hansen can be reached at 680-1958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.