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Tuesday May 31st, 2016 10:19AM

10th anniversary, a fun time for INK

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - There was plenty of birthday cake for children Sunday afternoon as Gainesville's Interactive Neighborhood for Kids celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Founder Sheri Hooper said INK's mission has not changed.

"Everything's hands on," she said. "The kids are going back and role playing in the areas and still having a lot of fun, ten years later."

INK first started in the old First United Methodist Church building downtown, and then moved to its present location on Chestnut Street to become part of the Featherbone Communiversity.

"It was a little slower back then, people would just come around because they were curious," Hooper added. "Every day the last ten years has been very special from a vision I had ten years ago. We took a leap a faith, opened the doors, and said let's try it. Ten years later we're serving almost 75,000 people a year."

Hooper said she was inspired by a visit to a children's museum in San Antonio, Texas.

"Our museum is a little bit better for our own community," Hooper observed. "Both museums are amazing and without the one in San Antonio we wouldn't be here today."

INK quickly filled with children who came to play on the vintage fire engine, explore the museum airplane and other exhibits including a beauty parlor, and grocery store.

Seven year old Jake Parzanese and his sister, five year old Hailey from Buford, ran INK's pizza parlor for a while, serving Mom Amanda a slice of pretend pizza.

"I think that they're pros over here," she said. "I think it's good that they play pretend and use their imaginiations."

Martha Olin from Flowery Branch also came back to celebrate her grandson's fifth birthday.

"We haven't been in about a year so we decided to come today for his birthday celebration," she said.

Grandson 'Chance' said he came for a good time.

"It's fun, it's all about kids having fun," he said.
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