There were no family-filled canoes in the pool Saturday at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park this year during Kidsfest.
But there were plenty of kayaks.
Boys and girls of all ages paddled them around the pool at the park, as the kayaks were a popular spot under the mid-day blazing sun.
Phil Stiles, director of Jefferson City Parks and Recreation, said the kayaks were a new activity last year, and were "really, really popular."
Other popular vendors included the petting zoo and pony rides, both of which were offered in a shady corner of the park.
Madi Luadzers, 7, and her sister Mia, 9, were among the first to ride the ponies Saturday morning.
"They're bumpy and they make you go, 'Umph,'" Madi said. "That's what it does when they're walking."
Mia agreed the ride was "bumpy." She added she worried she'd slide off of one side of the horse she rode as the horse went around a sharp corner.
"It was pretty fun because it was low," Mia said.
Nearby, a petting zoo included goats, donkeys, a calf and a boa constrictor.
The Rademan siblings Gus, 1, Tessa, 2, and Lexi, 4, surrounded a goat to pet it. Their mother, Jill Rademan, brought them from St. Thomas just for the event.
"I figured I'd just get the kids out and let them see what's going on today," Jill Rademan said. "This is our first stop. We have not made it anywhere else. We may not make it far from here."
Lexi said her favorite animal was the donkey. She said it felt funny when the donkey ate out of her hand.
The petting zoo and horseback rides were among about 70 vendors spread throughout the park. Many of the vendors offered information on health and outdoors topics, but also small activities.
In one area, children were able to play "Basketball Connect Four." Or they could play "spikeball," in which two players stand on each side of a small trampoline and spike a small volleyball into the trampoline, taking turns to spike it back to their opponent/partner.
Children lined up to sit in an MU Health Care Air Medical Service helicopter. They also toured fire trucks and the Jefferson City Police Department SWAT vehicle.
Two magic shows, dance performances, a performance from the Council for Drug Free Youth and a martial arts demonstration were among the offerings in the park's amphitheater.
Stiles said some of the vendors changed this year often because of timing. For instance, the Bubble Bus was booked up. But there were other vendors available to help fill the gap, like The Magic House, a segment of the St. Louis Children's Museum. Staff members from The Magic House conducted demonstrations concerning air, like sending small homemade parachutes up a wind tunnel or causing balls to float on a column of air.
Children also climbed around on a monster truck in the middle of the park.
Stiles said the event has taken place for more than 37 years. As expected, crowds were big again this year.
"It's kind of the kickoff to the summer," Stiles said. "People look forward to it every year."
Cecelia Goetz, 7, said she just finished first grade. She rode a horse and was stoked.
"I think it was fun. And kind of sad that the horses had to leave their home and get people riding on them," Cecilia said.
Cecilia added she rode a horse named Panda and said it was fun because she likes riding horses.
"She liked to walk fast," Cecilia said. "That's what the lady (leading Panda) said."