Sibs N Kids weekend featured Candyland theme

GVL/Luke Holmes
Kids play a lifesize version of “Hungry Hippo” in the Kirkhof Center for Sibs and Kids Weekend Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes Kids play a lifesize version of “Hungry Hippo” in the Kirkhof Center for Sibs and Kids Weekend Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

Meghan McBrady

Move forward six places – stop, player must roll again. Move forward three places – player is now in the Peppermint Forest.

Candy Land motifs led the way for Grand Valley State University’s 2016 Sibs N Kids Weekend, on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. The event, which was held on the Allendale Campus, welcomes the children and siblings of GVSU faculty, staff and students to experience what the school has to offer.

Breana Ganton worked with Nicole Gustin to coordinate the Sibs N Kids Weekend as part of Laker Traditions. Ganton said that the overall goal of coordinating and being in charge of the event is to create a memorable time for everyone.

“I absolutely love Sibs N Kids Weekend as it allows students to show their siblings, or whoever it may be, around Grand Valley,” Ganton said. “Guests attending the weekend are able to take a look at how great this school is and get a feel of the cool college life. It’s so rewarding when you see the kids running around and enjoying themselves.”

The theme for the weekend was Candy Land, so participants were able to enjoy a variety of events and activities centered around a candy or game theme.

From the life-size Candy Land game in the Grand River Room, to the GVSU-related coloring book station and the endless supply of candy, on Friday, the visitors were able to freely roam around in the Kirkhof Center and hang out at the different event stations.

On Saturday, the events moved to the Fieldhouse, where the families were able to rock climb, learn to swing dance with the swing dance club and dance with GVSU’s Royal Dancers.

Sean O’Melia, the program chair at Laker Traditions, said that one of the more popular stations was the petting zoo, sponsored by the Valley Exotic Zoo. While not candy-themed, having different stations like the zoo and a laser tag field meant everyone got a chance to find something they could enjoy.

“We have a lot of events that promote individual pride in Grand Valley and helping students enjoy their experience here,” O’Melia said. “But this is a great event to help students include their siblings in this Laker pride and showcasing how great of a school Grand Valley is to them.”

On Saturday, the children also had the chance to get their faces painted, play in inflatables ranging from giant hamster balls to an obstacle course and interact with huskies from a sled dog show before they all watched GVSU’s women’s and men’s basketball team compete against Hillsdale College.

Kyle Cronin, who was part of the athletic marketing for the basketball game, said that not only was he happy at the huge turnout for the weekend event, but he was also happy that the university was able to show all participants how amazing GVSU can really be.

“It’s awesome, because we usually don’t get a lot of little kids at the basketball games,” Cronin said. “Seeing them all here, interacting with the local community and all the GV students really shows what we do on campus and shows what kind of people that we can be.”