Cool things and events for spring.

e-Play kiosks: A one-stop-shop for DVD movies
(and Parent readers, you get a free rental!)

Are you looking for an exciting and inexpensive night of entertainment for the whole family? Rent popular $1-per-day new release DVD and Blu-ray discs like The Secret Life of Bees, Madagascar 2, Igor and Horton Hears a Who, from an e-Play DVD vending kiosk near you.

e-Play DVD vending kiosks rent DVDs discs for $1 per day ($2 per day for Blu-ray), and sell DVD titles starting at just $1.99. e-Play kiosks offer a selection of high-demand movie titles, touch-screen search capability to find desired movies, and the ability to preview movie trailers on-screen before renting a movie. The registration process is easy and quick, and there are never any membership fees or late charges.

e-Play kiosks are located at local retailers around Columbus, such as Speedway and Dollar Tree stores. To find a location near you, please visit www.e-Play.com. When checking out at the kiosk, enter the promotion code PARENTMG to receive a free one-night movie rental. Free rental offer expires March 31.

Von Trapp Children to perform at the Ohio Theatre

The von Trapp Children - great-grandchildren of Captain von Trapp, whose story inspired the musical The Sound of Music - will be performing with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 7 at 8 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre. The von Trapps, Justin, Amanda, Melanie and Sofia ("JAMS") perform a variety of folk and classical songs from various European and American traditions, as well as timeless pieces from The Sound of Music.

Tickets may be purchased by phone at (614) 228-8600, online at www.ColumbusSymphony.com, or at the customer service center located 65 E. State St. More information on the von Trapp children can be found on their website at www.vontrappchildren.com.

Call for entries: Kids for the Cure

Coinciding with the 17th annual Race for the Cure on May 16, Komen Columbus and Columbus Parent Magazine are kicking off a contest called Kids for the Cure. The contest invites students from elementary through high school to share their stories of how they have been affected by watching or helping a loved one battle breast cancer.

Students may express themselves by writing a letter, journal entry or essay in 500 words or less; or by drawing or painting a picture. The deadline for entries is March 20. Three finalists will be awarded prizes in each age group and will have the option of sharing their entry at one of the events prior to the Race for the Cure. The contest has three competition levels:

Level I, Grades 1-3 Level II, Grades 4-6 Level III, Grades 7-12
Finalists from each competition level will be selected by a panel of breast cancer volunteers, activists and survivors and will receive a prize. Visit www.komencolumbus.org/race for more information or to submit your entry. Participants also may mail their entries to: Komen Columbus, 855 Grandview Ave., Suite 250, Columbus, OH 43215.

Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage: A Circus Comes to Town

The all-new 90-minute musical adventure Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage: A Circus Comes to Town is packed with audience sing-a-longs, high-energy dancing and thrilling adventures. When Thomas makes a big mistake, all the engines on the island of Sodor must work together to prepare for the exciting event under the big top as Thomas proves he's a really useful engine once again. Along the way, Percy, James, Gordon, and of course Thomas, join with Sir Topham Hatt and the townspeople from the island of Sodor to welcome a colorful cast of circus performers in an engaging story that demonstrates the importance of friendship and cooperation.
Shows are at the Palace Theatre on Tuesday, April 21 at 7p.m., and Wednesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.capa.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Are you sweet and sassy?

If you haven't already heard, glitter and glamour have arrived at the Polaris Fashion Place with the opening of the newest Sweet & Sassy. For those who have not yet experienced the party of a lifetime, or noticed the hot-pink limousine, Sweet & Sassy's unique children's salon, spa and celebration concept is served up in a bright, entertaining and wholesome atmosphere that caters to young girls up to age 13. Sweet & Sassy offers a variety of services, including haircuts, mini-manicures, mini-pedicures, ear-piercing, spa-inspired packages, a selection of six signature parties, and retail products just for tweens.

Sweet & Sassy is located in the new outdoor section of Polaris Mall next to Destination Maternity. To book your next party or service at Sweet & Sassy, call (614) 433-9999, or visit sweetandsassy.com.

Summer activities expos planned

Are you searching for that special summer camp experience for your child? Check out the two upcoming Summer Activities Expos.
The expos typically host 60-75 kid-oriented businesses focused on providing programs that are enriching, educational, athletic, creative and a lot of fun. They are the perfect places to find just what you are looking for. Sports, dance, martial arts, water sports, horseback, the arts, adventure, and animal camps are just a few of the many types of programs represented at these events. At the expos you will speak with business owners and representatives directly, learn more about what they have to offer and sign up for camps on the spot. Live demonstrations are performed by many of the exhibitors, giving visitors a glimpse of what they can expect from the program.

Olentangy Summer Activities Expo - Orange Middle School
March 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
2680 E. Orange Rd., Lewis Center 43035
For more information visit www.orangems.olentangypto.org, or write to: jshively@insight.rr.com

Westerville Parent Council Camp/Activities Expo - Westerville North High School
March 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
950 County Line Rd., Westerville 43081
For more write to: www.westervillepta.org, or write to: president@westervillepta.org
Visit one or both expos in March and secure your child's space in the "best summer camp ever!" Both expos are free and there are opportunities to win great prizes. We'll see you at the expo!