More than 1300 students, family, and community members attended the Bonny Slope Carnival last Friday. The event, sponsored by BSCO, featured food trucks, games, snacks, bouncy houses, and the annual Fifth Grade Pie Eating Contest. Fun was had by all, with a plethora of opportunities to entertain children of all ages.
While the turnout was record-breaking, event organizers, Debbie Herron and Elizabeth Binghold, worked to streamline the registration process which resulted in shorter lines and more fun-time for parents and children. “This year we also included a third bounce-house that was more friendly for our smaller guests and their younger siblings as a means to ensure that everyone, including the youngest among us, felt welcome,” said Binghold.
A new addition to this year’s event was the Fifth Grade “Action Alley,” where current fifth graders set up booths and handed out fliers to promote and educate the community on various social issues. This community action was the final step towards their PYP Exhibition Night and students were grateful for the exposure and opportunity to share their research and action plans.
In previous years, the Carnival was a revenue-neutral event, meaning the amount spent hosting the event was covered by tickets and concession sales. This was the first time the event was offered free to the community.
“This was a conscious decision by BSCO’s Board, which felt the community deserved a tangible return on the awe-inspiring fundraising efforts this year,” stated BSCO President, Hannah Donohue. “This community continues to amaze with its level of volunteer and fiscal support. Ultimately, we opted not to charge admission because the additional revenue was unnecessary,” Donohue added.
However, the size and scale of a larger, free event can be logistically challenging. As attendance amps up, it proves difficult to solicit enough volunteer support. While parent volunteers assisted with the coordination and execution of Carnival, 75 percent of volunteers that night were from Sunset High School. This was necessary to help close the gap in the shortage of parent volunteers. Next year’s 2016-17 budget, which was approved last month, includes free admission to Carnival 2017 and next year’s committee will continue to work toward solving these staffing issues.
“One of the great things about volunteering for the Carnival is that parents who typically can not volunteer because of work commitments or other responsibilities during the day can volunteer after work hours, with all shifts happening right along your child,” said Binghold.
Asked what was most rewarding about organizing the event, Herron responded, “The smiles, laughs, and children exclaiming they ‘love everything and never want Carnival to end.’ My hope is that kids look forward to Carnival with this excitement and anticipation every year. “
Thanks to all who attended and volunteered to make this year’s event such a wonderful success!