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Community play date

Published:   |   Updated: July 15, 2013 at 08:57 AM

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SPRING HILL - Shortly after 10 a.m. on Saturday, prospective parents and thir children waited in line outside of the Hernando County Health Department waiting their turn to walk through the 2013 World's Greatest Baby Shower and Toddler Expo.

Inside, 61 educators and vendors offered parenting discussions and demonstrations, ranging from prenatal yoga to children's dental care.

Not every activity was educational on the surface. Children took turns painting their own custom T-shirts and posed for pictures with a Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Mermaid.

"We hope families come out and have a great time, get some education and maybe win some prizes," said Virginia Arnold, Healthy Start coordinator and event organizer.

Arnold explained that many families are wrapped up in the everyday grind of making ends meet, and the event was created in part to let families to come out for a few hours and enjoy spending time together, leaving those distractions behind.

"We wanted to give them an opportunity to have a day," Arnold said.

It appeared to be a welcome diversion. According to Arnold, the Health Department had prepared for 350 visitors. Just minutes after the doors opened, a volunteer estimated about 150 had already registered and walked through the expo.

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