SIKESTON, Mo. -- All of the Kenny Rogers Children's Center's stars -- its therapists and the children they serve -- will be out in full force this weekend during the annual telethon.
Set for Saturday and Sunday at the Sikeston Field House, the 32nd annual telethon will have a new theme this year, "Under the Bigtop."
"It's a carnival theme, and the telethon is geared toward that. We'll have games, snow cones, bounce house and pony rides and all kinds of fun things," said Christy O'Neal, who works in marketing for the center.
O'Neal said there will even be an opportunity for children to make cotton candy during the carnival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
One of the busiest events of the weekend is the silent auction, which raised close to $20,000 last year.
"That was the absolute largest silent auction we've ever had. We would love to do that again this year," O'Neal said.
More than 250 items were collected for the silent auction, which ends at 2 p.m. Sunday. Packages that will be available include trips to St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Nashville, Tenn., as well as round-trip airline tickets.
The third annual 5K run begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with a one-mile walk and youth and toddler race taking place at 8:30 a.m.
"Every year, we get additional runners the day of the event," O'Neal said, adding last year there were between 75 and 100 participants.
The dog show set for noon Saturday also makes a return this year with new categories, O'Neal said.
One of the telethon's new events this year is the Zumbathon. Set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Zumbathon is a marathon based on the Latin-inspired dance exercise.
"Zumba is a hot thing at the YMCA, and they've done a Zumbathon before. This was a good event to try out this year for us," O'Neal said. "We have quite a few registered."
The goal is to fill the Sikeston High School football field with participants, O'Neal said, adding the event will be led by instructors from the YMCA of Southeast Missouri and Midwest Gymnastics in Sikeston.
A blood drive by the American Red Cross will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Another returning event is the Telethon Idol singing competition, which begins at 7 p.m. Saturday with 29 contestants. This year it will be broken into a junior division and adult division, O'Neal said.
The telethon wraps up at 4 p.m. Sunday.
This year's fundraising goal is $400,000, O'Neal said.
200 Pine St., Sikeston, MO