School Carnival a Big Production Fundraiser

The Parent Teacher Committee at Oak Heights put on quite the production for its annual Spring Carnival and Silent Auction on Saturday, May 18.

Apparently what started out as a “tiny” fundraising carnival some 20 years ago has more recently evolved into a full-blown mini carnival, according to parent Patty Hankins, one of the many fundraising volunteers on the PTC.

Games line the cafeteria walls at Oak Heights during the school’s annual Spring Carnival held May 18.

“We choose a fundraising goal each year,” Hankins said. “Our goal is to in the next few years put a cover or partial cover over the playground so our kids can stay dry and clean while they’re playing outside.”

Inside the school building was a hallway packed with silent auction and raffle items. Former New Era owner Miriam Swanson was spotted there seeking out good finds. She said she goes every year because she finds great deals.

“The class raffle baskets are really fun, too, because everybody gets to put little unique carts together; it really makes a cool basket,” parent Ashlee Moore said. “Each class picks a theme and any kids in the class get to donate.”

Moore said her family attends the carnival every year because they love it and the kids have a great time.

Kindergartener Stella Baird smiles as she reaches to pet a pony.

Found on a small patch of grassy knoll between the school buildings was a petting zoo with goats, rabbits and miniature horses, and out on the playground area were games, a dunk tank and an oversized bounce house. In the cafeteria was the bustling activity of kids and parents participating in numerous carnival games.

Carnival tickets could buy one a chance to get their face painted or play games for prizes, such as puppy race, Plinko, ring toss, soda walk, fish pong (to win a live goldfish), putting green, rubber duck grab, Yahtzee, paper airplane throw, or Twenty-One (aka blackjack).

Volunteer Larry Horton was asked jokingly if he had any qualms about, essentially, teaching kids how to play the casino game.
“I do not,” he said. “This is a fun fundraiser for the school.”

Teacher Daniia Martyniuk adds syrup to a sno-cone while, at left, teacher assistants Judy Wilson and Carrie Collins watch.

Second-grader Ryatt Berg said his favorite part of the carnival was dunking his teacher in the dunk tank. Everleigh Curtis, a second-grader at Hawthorne, was seen gleefully showing her new goldfish to her friend Ariyah Barton, a second-grader at Oak Heights. Everleigh won the fish by successfully tossing a ping pong ball into a small fish bowl. She was trying to decide whether to name the fish Scales or Tails.

And a carnival is not a carnival without the proper food. Hungry visitors could buy hot dogs, corn dogs, funnel cake, nachos popcorn and sno-cones.

“I think it’s great for the students and the community because more than just Oak Heights kids can come,” noted parent Elizabeth Nelson.

Last year, with matching funds from Sweet Home School District 55, the PTC was able to install three new pieces of playground equipment at Oak Heights with a roughly $58,000 price tag, Hankins said. The playground cover will cost upwards of $75,000.

Each year the annual fundraiser helps boost the PTC fund so they can purchase big-ticket items for the school. Hankins said they put money into CDs and such to maximize their funds through interest earned.

Everleigh Curtis, second grade, holds her new fish that she won at a carnival game while her friend, Ariyah Barton, second grade, at right talks about the fun carnival.

School Principal Todd Barrett said the PTC already has $20,000 set aside and the annual carnival generally brings in about $10,000 to $15,000 for the PTC fund.

“It’s been a tradition here and it’s something we are continuing on with and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m super excited and I’m excited next year to incorporate the remodel with our new cafeteria to be able to have both spaces.”

He noted it takes weeks for the PTC to get ready for the big event.

“Look at all the people here having a great time,” he said. “This is about family activities and giving our families something to do, but it’s also fundraising.”