Miles of Smiles has a ton of attractions designed for children, but anyone who saw the smile on Lance Beitelspacher's face as he helped his 2-year-old daughter, Kaelyn, sift through sand to search for quarters could see it wasn't just kids who had fun Saturday.
"It's something for all the kids to get outside, enjoy themselves and meet other children," Beitelspacher said as his daughter reached for a quarter she found.
Beitelspacher and his daughter were participating in an event called sand search, one of the dozens of events held at Miles of Smiles. The party, an annual event held at Wylie Park, was conceived by Aberdeen dentist Dr. Darold Opp as a way for people to have an afternoon of family friendly fun.
Miles of Smiles had dozens of attractions, including bounce houses, inflatable rides, sack races, hula hoop dancing lessons, 18-foot-tall puppets and even a gigantic bubble-making machine that churned out bubbles which floated around the park.
"It's just so fun here," said Hillary Waldstin, who was helping her 1-year-old daughter, Ryan, with horse hops.
Horse hops is similar to a sack race, except the the children are on toy horses that bounce.
Mercedes Buchanan of Aberdeen, who brought her two grandchildren — Jack, 5, and Charlie, 2 — to Miles of Smiles for the second consecutive year, said seeing the kids play is better than any event or attraction organizers could come up with.
"I love watching the grandkids have fun," said Buchanan.
One of the biggest draws at Miles of Smiles were the characters from movies, video games and TV shows — such as Spider-Man, Super Mario, Snow White, Spongebob and Dora the Explorer — who all constantly waved to crowds or took pictures with children.
Not all of the characters were fictional. One of them, who was described as a "special guest" by event organizers, was a costumed version of Psy, the creator of the hit single "Gangnam-style."
The faux Psy led a crowd of people through the dance associated with the song midway through the event.
All of the characters appeared to be extremely popular, but the character Jack liked the best has origins much close to home.
"My favorite one is the Wizard of Oz," Jack said.
The only aspect of the event people weren't so thrilled about was the 90-degree heat, but event organizers helped alleviate that by providing shaded areas and free ice water to the guests.
Opp is the event's founder and primary sponsor, but many other sponsors — including Avera St. Luke's Hospital, KSFY, Dakota Broadcasting and many more — teamed up to make the event possible.
Follow @Sfeldman_ANN on Twitter.