There is no smile as priceless as that of a parent whose children are happy and safe. More priceless is the smile of a parent who partakes in the child’s fun. This was exactly the experience for the thousands that turned up at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole for the Toto Christmas festival yesterday. The event was sponsored by Pepsi, SunTop and PostBankjointly with Vision Group.
“I am having fun. What makes me happier is that my two children are enjoying the event,” Susan Pande, who was watching her four children playing on the water slide, said.
Pande is one of the hundreds of parents who thronged the Toto Festival alongside their children.While the children were jumping on the trampolines, sliding into the mini-pools, bouncing on castles, riding on quad bikes, camels and bicycles,their parents were busy dancing and swaying to the rhythms of the beautiful Ugandan songs the disc jokeys were playing.
Nalongo Adoara Nabulya, another parent, said:
“My children now have a story to tell when they grow up. I have also had a chance to relievemy stress. I have met new people and made friends,” she said.
Doreen Namponye,a pupil of Zion Childcare in Kassanda district, could not believe her eyes. For the first time, she came face-to-face with a crocodile.
She immediately confessed that it was her first time seeing it and all the other animals and birds on display. Toto had made sure that a crocodile, a servant and genet cat, a colobus and red tailed monkey, anostrich, a python, cobra and a puff adder snake were brought for viewing by the revellers. Denis Byaruhanga said the event has met his expectations.
He said that compared to last year, this year Toto festival has given children more games to choose from. The children were entertained by local musicians such as Gravity Omutujju, Dax Martel and the Triplex Children.
There were lots of dance competitions by children and schools with the best winning prizes ranging from juice and T-shirts to sh2m.St Benedict Junior School walked away with the top prize of sh2m from the Toto Magazine editor Jovita Ajuna, after beating off six stiff competitors. Some parents said they were at first reluctant to part with the sh 20,000 entry feeper child, but after seeing how happy their children are, they are glad they parted with that money.
By the time the festival closed at 6:00pm, thousands of little toddlers who were still inside Mandela National Stadium having fun. But curtains had to be lowered and gates closed. Many a child, a number who had had their faces painted or decorated in some form of art and had grabbed either ice cream or some play kit, were visibly happy.
They had had a field day, played with their peers, and were satisfied. Joweria Nabuuma, the events manager, said the festival turned out exactly the way they wanted it, save for the rain that which had threatened to ruin the fun day early on. When Pastor Wilson Bugembe performed his Kani, even the old who escorted the toddlers, put their arms up in the air. Spice Diana also charmed the little ones with her Number 32. Jovita Ajuna, the Toto editor,said more schools participated.
Reagan Talutambudde, the events co-ordinator for Pepsi, said children were a lot freer to participate in different activities. They learned to skate, rode in toy cars and jumped up and down in the numerous bouncing castles. The only low perhaps was the musicians selected to perform for the children. A lot of the secular musicians selected did not exactly sing children songs. The events co-ordinator said he would love a better artiste selection next year.