First Head Start Fall Festival Draws Hundreds Of Students And Parents

More than 700 youngsters are enrolled in Harrison County's Head Start Program. On Saturday, many of them and their parents spent the day at the program's first fall festival at the Harry C. Tart Head Start Center in Gulfport.

There was some fancy footwork going on, but the young kids weren't just putting their best foot forward on the dance floor. They're also part of Harrison County's Head Start Program, which prepares pre-school children for kindergarten.

"We reach out and refer parents to different services and we service children that are 3 and 4 years of age. These children can be children with disabilities. It doesn't matter how much income they have, all children can apply," said Lovie Drummor, a 27 year Head Start worker.

Both of Mable Dedeaux's children, Reginald who's four and M'Cheyla who's three, are enrolled in the Head Start Program.

Mable was one of hundreds of parents to arrive hand-in-hand with her children at the event.

"I think it did very good for the first time, very good. There are a lot of people here enjoying themselves," she said.

There was barbeque that would suit anyone's palate, and no one walked away empty-handed with all the prizes available, but it's not so much about the prizes.Festival organizers say it's about the quality time they got to spend with their family and friends.

"We were hoping to promote parent involvement, community awareness of the Head Start Program, because since Katrina, our participation, as far as parent involvement has plummeted. It's gone down, so we're wishing to increase that and to promote awareness in this area as far as Head Start," Drummor said.

Organizers plan to make the festival an annual event.