The pandemic threw a wrench into what used to be an annual preschool fair held at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church — but now the event is back and organizers hope it’ll return to being an annual event.
“It feels good to be back doing what I love to do, which is being a resource for families so they can be great, ” said Malena Jackson, coordinator for My Preschool Fair, the organization holding the event at United Methodist. “You know, you don’t have a lot of that today.”
The fair’s return on Sunday was much smaller in scale than years previous, which used to draw a line of about 50 families “through the door,” according to Jackson. But this was due to a much larger issue facing the community in the fallout of the pandemic — Jackson said many of her former sponsors had to close up shop in the past few years.
“We’re kind of rebuilding in a way,” said Jackson. “A lot of the small businesses are now either out of business or they’re having to restructure and figure out, ‘How do we get back on our feet?’ And that’s why I tell them, ‘You should come to the preschool fair… let’s make this work.’”
Tiago Vaquero, a father there with his daughter, said knowing what local child care resources were at their disposal was very informative.
“We came to learn more about the school, because, for every parent, there’s a lot of demand,” said Vaquero. “It’s been very informative and that’s why we came.”
While the event was still small, each vendor made an effort to entertain the families that were there — setting up games and toys while the parents looked into the resources available to them. Several preschools had tables set up and chatted with interested parents.
Jackson was optimistic that, in the future, they’ll be able to grow back to what the fair was before the pandemic.
“This is a great resource for [parents]. You know, moms with small children like to know what’s here, because not only is it preschools, it’s family-friendly businesses as well. So they’re like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ So it’s not as [large] as I would like, but it’s a start because it has been three years.”