Learning More About the Community at The North County Business Showcase

By Nichole Fetters

The 26th Annual Greater North County Business Showcase was a hit at the James J Eagan Center on March 22 with nearly 1000 attending the event, which was the second year in a row at the civic center.  A total of 62 area businesses and services and 11 local restaurants filled the gymnasium with food, freebies, and information on what North County has to offer.

After four years of getting to know the area, I am now an official resident and quite interested to discover the family side of the city.

Perhaps this year’s showcase was again  well attended because the committee keeps the showcase a family-friendly event. Ronald McDonald, Mike’s Balloon Creations, Ruffy the River City Rascal Mascot, face-painting and a children’s arts and crafts corner were the main attractions for the young people.

Parents could scour the business booths, obtaining an abundance of information on the different companies, organizations, and foundations that exist in Florissant with growing families in mind.

For starters, North County is home to three branches of the Saint Louis County Library, and I have spent quite a bit of time taking advantage of their literary and media services.  However, our libraries offer far more than books, magazines, and media. Science, art, even Lego clubs are all easily accessible to the families of Florissant.

Also represented at the fair were many of the local schools, but we were especially impressed with the North County Christian School. With a campus encompassing pre-school through senior high school, NCCS students receive a wide range of programs from arts to athletics in a faith-centered environment provided by faculty, staff, peers, and other parents. While it will be important to us that our future children be involved at school (high school musicals and band concerts galore!) we will definitely be looking for programs and activities around Florissant for our children to attend and for all of us to attend as a family. The Business Fair presented us with a few area locations we were already aware of, in addition to introducing us to some really wonderful companies, programs, and foundations we did not know existed before.

The Emerson Family YMCA hosts a slew of teams, clubs, and activities for children and is a perfect source of entertainment for families of all ages. The YMCA has an amazing fitness and sports program for children where they will learn true sportsmanship and obtain a variety of experiences to build self-confidence and teamwork.

I have spent a great deal of time soaking up the sun or strolling on a cool evening through  the Florissant parks, but what I was not aware of, however, was an amazing concept that is in the works through the organization Accessible Play, Inc.  Accessible Play, Inc. is in the process of building Angie’s Playground at Manion Park, a place where children of all abilities can play side by side. Among other things, the playground will feature Braille signage, wide ramps, rubber surfaces, transfer stations to assist children in wheelchairs, plus learning stations, quiet areas, and sensory play.

Florissant offers an abundance of options for education, athletics, creative arts, and imaginative play. All you have to do is look slightly past the sidewalk in your front yard to find the perfect niche for your child in this town.

While I’ve spent the last four years getting to know the businesses, parks, and people of Florissant, I am now seeing this city from a different perspective, and what Florissant really comes down to is family and the desire to build and strengthen a compassionate and growing community.

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