BY JULIE FARREN
Jiovvana Flores and her family were drawn to the Family Fun event last Saturday at the Elks Lodge because of the Beaumont Library’s bookmobile.
“We go to the library at least three times a week and we saw that this event was going on,” said Jiovvana, accompanied by her husband, Enrique, and their children, Enrique, 7, Arthur, 5 and Emilia, 3.
This is the first year that Family Fun was held at the Beaumont Elks Lodge No. 1839, which came up with the idea for the four-hour event.
Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Gil Martinez said a committee of 10 Elks members started coming up with ideas in March. The Beaumont Police Department and the Beaumont Library District were interested in participating in the event, Martinez said.
Hence, the bookmobile was part of the attraction as well as Officer Ryan Brieda and his K-9 partner, Mila, of the Beaumont Police Department.
Brieda is Mila’s handler and she is his best friend, Brieda said of his partner of three years.
Brieda said it took him eight years to get the Beaumont police program going.
Mila is originally from Brazil and Holland, but Brieda had to go to Indiana to get Mila, who is given commands in Dutch by Brieda.
Mila’s specialty is narcotics. She has uncovered between $4 to $5 million worth of drugs in the past three years.
Brieda demonstrated her drug-sniffing abilities when he placed 10 grams of methamphetamine in a white bag underneath the American flag pole and 10 grams of heroin underneath the piano inside the Elks Lodge.
It did not take Mila very long to find the drugs.
Once she did, she laid down on the floor next to her discovery.
Brieda said Mila will work for another four years and then she can retire and he will buy her for $1 upon her retirement.
The Police Department also had an exhibit on drug awareness and provided free fingerprinting for the children.
Another attraction was Queen Elsa, from the hit movie “Frozen.” Brianna Presley played the Disney princess, who posed for photos with little girls dressed in blue gowns like their role model.
Adults and children also were waiting in a long line to have their faces painted. Brother and sister Herbert and Emily Baker, 10 and 8, were two of the children with artistic creations on their face.
Herbert wanted a bruise around his right eye. “I didn’t want Spiderman,” Herbert said. Emily chose a beautiful butterfly design.
“I like fairies and Barbie dolls,” Emily said.
Their parents, Herbert and Brenda Baker, said they try to find family friendly events to do on weekends.
“We heard about it through their school, Palm Innovation Academy,” Brenda Baker said.
Herbert Baker said he has a lot of respect for the Elks Lodge and what they do for the community.
The Elks provided free hot dogs and popcorn, as well as water and juice, for the families in attendance.
The Boy Scouts also had a table at the event.
Kids Cures Foundation gave away free children’s books, American flags, red, white and blue pinwheels, and crayons for the youth. President Vicki Grunewald said they had a raffle and were giving away free backpacks, too.
Martinez, of the Elks Lodge, said they plan to hold the same event a year from now.
Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at email@example.com .