By Emma Young
Nearly 600 people attended Silver Sparkles Family Fun Day on Saturday, March 3, estimated founder Kristina Schnack Kotlus, owner of PWCMoms.com.
Proceeds from the annual family-friendly festival, held at Competitive Edge Sports Center in Woodbridge, benefit brain tumor research. Kotlus began Silver Sparkles Family Fun Day after the diagnosis of her own brain tumor. “Our beneficiary this year is the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network, which is my particular type of cancer. It’s more common in kids (third most common), but very uncommon in adults; only 1-2% of adult neuro-oncology cases. There’s currently no chemotherapy that works well every time, so I’m hoping I can help others!” noted Kotlus in an online interview.
Over 60 businesses sponsor the event, providing youth and children’s activities, crafts, and entertainment throughout the event facility. “This is my third year sponsoring the event,” said Jessica Salazar, owner of Jessica LS Photography in Woodbridge. “I absolutely love Kristina and her ability to put together a great event in support of research.” Specializing in infant, children, and family photography, Salazar provides a “photobooth” each year. This year children took photos with a princess in front of a sparkly background.
Lorena Perez, a receptionist at Dale City’s Lifetime Dental, explained her organization’s natural fit with Silver Sparkles Family Fun Day. “We are all about family and health. From an infant’s first teeth to adults, we are a family practice. The event is a perfect fit. And the day is energetic and fun,” Perez stated.
“Miss Jenna,” a transitional kindergarten teacher at Crème de la Crème, an early learning center in Dumfries, would agree. “We offer great opportunities for families to learn and grow together at our school and also here at Silver Sparkles,” said Miss Jenna, as children crafted butterflies and Cat-in-the-Hats from art materials at their tables. “It’s been an incredible day and we’re so thankful to be here,” she stated.
“We have a lot of fun,” stated Kotlus, “and we have great partners.” Tens of thousands were without power on Saturday following heavy winds when a nor’easter hit the region, including Chick-fil-A, a major event sponsor. “Chick-fil-A had to close their business today, but they still made it to the event and provided chicken sandwiches for everyone,” said Kotlus.
“Every year the kids have had a blast and we have stayed the entire time,” said Ana Hernandez of Montclair. “We have enjoyed the variety of activities, from seed planting to playing with Lego robots. It is great to see the entire community gather together for a great cause and have a great time while doing so,” Hernandez stated.
The event is expected to make close to $6,000 for Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network.
Freelance writer Emma Young resides in Montclair.