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AURELIUS | Parents and children found there was a lot to do at the Fingerlakes Mall Saturday during the Youth Fair and the annual running of the Pinewood Derby, a Cub Scout tradition.

In the center of the mall's long aisle children approached tables staffed by representatives of Cayuga County agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations eager to promote after-school activities and services to help area families.

Folks of all ages could stop and have their blood pressure assessed by Auburn Community Hospital's Cardiac Rehab Center, learn about day-care options at Childcare Solutions, or some of the free learning opportunities at the Booker T. Washington Center.

"We just started a middle-school program on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m.," said Denisha Joe, a BTW program specialist. "We take (participants) home at 8 p.m., but we can't pick them up because we have an elementary school program ending at 6 p.m."

The Tratt siblings, Allen, 10 and Alena, 8, had their photos taken for identification cards by deputies from the sheriff's office at the Operation Safe Child table.

Identification cards are important to the Tratts they said in case "we get lost."

The former Options for Independence agency is now known as ARISE and offers broadened programming for individuals with disabilities, said a representative manning a table full of eye-catching information.

The Youth Fair coincided with the Boy Scout sponsored Pinewood Derby, which took place in an empty storefront.

Eager Scouts registered their five-ounce race cars constructed from Boy Scout sanctioned kits. Scouts, in collaboration with power-tool wielding adults, crafted their vehicles from blocks of light pine, said Cub Master Paul Dungey.

"It's a learning activity," he said. "There's a lot of parental involvement and help using their first coping saw and sanding blocks."

Thomas Dauenhauer, 7, of Montezuma, is a member of Cub Scout Pack 56 and attends A. A. Gates Elementary School in Port Byron. He and his father Earl put a lot of work into their glossy painted and sharply styled car, their third derby entry in as many years.

"It's based on my grandfather and grandmother's car, a 1940s Ford," he said. "I'm trying to win at least one thing every year. This year I'm going to try to get most creative."

Thomas has good instincts because after many heats of variously shaped and painted race cars zooming down two metallic tracks his car did prevail and he took home the Judge's Choice award.

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Staff writer Carrie Chantler can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or carrie.chantler@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenChantler.

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