East­side cel­e­brates with Fall Fes­ti­val

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Williams SJ Cor­re­spon­dent

Polk County is a pop­u­lar place for fall fes­ti­vals. Be­tween Cedar­town’s Fall Fest, Rock­mart’s Riverwalk Fes­ti­val, and Aragon’s Pump­kin Fest, there’s truly no short­age of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get out in the fall weather and en­joy one­self. East­side’s Fall Fes­ti­val, how­ever, of­fered the usual au­tumn fes­tiv­i­ties and made sure the games, food, and ac­tiv­i­ties were geared to­wards chil­dren. Nearly all the events were de­signed to make the el­e­men­tary school kids feel they were in a pri­vate world de­signed just for them.

“This is the first fall fes­ti­val East­side has had in years,” Par­ent Teacher Or­ga­ni­za­tion mem­ber Va­lerie McBryde said. “There is the Riverwalk fes­ti­val down­town, but events like that tend to be geared more to­wards adults, so I’m glad we have an event that’s aimed to­wards chil­dren.”

Spread through­out the school’s cam­pus were in­flat­a­bles, a pet­ting zoo, hayrides, car­ni­val games, a cake walk, face painting sta­tions, fake tat­too sta­tions, trunk or treat op­por­tu­ni­ties, lo­cal ven­dors, restaurant ven­dors, and much more. Many of the games and ac­tiv­i­ties were Hal­loween themed giv­ing young­sters an op­por­tu­nity to stick their hands in a con­tainer of “eye­balls” or “brains,” and the trunk or treat sta­tions made sure there was more than enough hol­i­day candy to go around. A track­less train could be seen zoom­ing chil­dren around the school, and the bounce cas­tle was be­ing used nearly con­stantly by the en­er­getic youth. Many as­pects of the event were free, but those who spent money on food, drinks, or games can rest as­sured know­ing money earned will be put to­wards a bet­ter school.

“At­ten­dance is a lot higher than ex­pected.” McBryde said. “We want the kids to have fun, but we’re also rais­ing money for up­dated play­grounds and gen­eral school up­grades to the bath­rooms and stuff like that.”

East­side has two play­grounds that have been static for years, and the school’s staff is look­ing to im­prove chil­dren’s play­time along­side other var­i­ous parts of the school.

“We won’t know ex­actly how much we’ve raised un­til later in the week, but it’s come to­gether nicely,” the PTO mem­ber men­tioned.

East­side’s fes­ti­val stayed true to tra­di­tional fes­ti­val struc­ture by host­ing a slew of ven­dors that sur­rounded the school’s gate to sell ev­ery­thing imag­in­able in­clud­ing fash­ion, ac­ces­sories, crafts, food, and more. The ven­dors were al­most rem­i­nis­cent of ear­lier crafts fes­ti­vals in Polk, and the shops gave the fes­ti­val’s par­ents an op­por­tu­nity to do some shop­ping.

While the fes­ti­val was im­pres­sive, staff and or­ga­niz­ers had a big help­ing hand from many spon­sors who helped the event come to­gether and would like to ex­tend an em­phatic thank you to spon­sors Home­town Pizza and Grill, Merle Nor­man cos­met­ics, The Ki­wa­nis Club, Sor­rells Farm, State Farm In­surance, Tan­gles Hair Salon, Rock­mart’s Race­way, Haney com­pany, Side­kicks restaurant, Ham­mer Hard con­struc­tion, Tiers of Joy cake com­pany, The Fron­tier Steak House, Rock­mart Fam­ily Den­tistry, Robin­son’s Muf­fles, Raz­zle Daz­zle salon, Ham­rick Tire and Au­to­mo­tive, Chick-fil-A, All­state in­surance, Day’s Chevro­let, Ad­vance Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, Arby’s, Cen­tury Bank, Dairy Queen, and Home­town Realty

Sean Williams / Stan­dard Jour­nal

In­flat­able bounce houses are part of the fun Satur­day at East­side El­e­men­tary’s Fall Fes­ti­val.

Sean Williams/ Stan­dard Jour­nal

Vis­i­tors look at en­tries in the pump­kin dec­o­rat­ing con­test at the East­side El­e­men­tary Fall Fes­ti­val.

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