Seeliger Elementary School’s Pumpkin Patch festival is a familiar tradition bringing some new twists this year. The 28th annual autumn carnival, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the school (2800 Saliman Road), offers students and families a day of fun and community involvement. Proceeds benefit Seeliger’s classrooms directly, giving teachers extra dollars for instructional or project supplies, field trip expenditures, books or storage needs. Some teachers have purchased carts to store computers or others have used their proceeds for engineering books or to form reading groups. Ashleigh Drongesen, Seeliger teacher and the event’s head of committee this year, said staff has expressed anticipation about the celebration.
“It is an event planned by the teachers where we put on games and we collect things,” she said. “We ask parents to help with bake sale, the kids get to do a cake decorating contest, and all of that helps work together to make the event possible.” This year, the committee has reached out to local food trucks seeking to please a variety of tastes, and there will be new craft vendors for parents to buy an assortment of items, Drongesen said. The traditional pumpkins also will be sold as part of the fundraising efforts. “I do want to praise one of our families who is partnering with us,” she added. “They own Grocery Outlet, and so they are donating candy bars for our candy sale and some gift cards for our raffle.” Students can enjoy face-painting, a dunk tank, a silent auction, prizes, hot-air balloon rides, bounce houses and inflatables. Teachers have created themed baskets with their classrooms for students to collect items. Carson City supports the festival with an average attendance of about 400 to 500 families turning out to enjoy carnival games and vendors’ booths. Teachers and parents volunteer to produce homemade baked goods, Drongesen said, which helps to build camaraderie within the school’s classrooms. “We always advertise to all the schools,” she said. “We love to see the new ideas because people come in from different schools and we can try new things and make sure we’re always trying to make it better.” Previous carnivals typically have generated approximately $10,000 for staff members; with about 15 teachers, that often came to about $300 to $400 per classroom, Drongesen said. She added one of her favorite aspects of leading the committee for the first time has been watching community engagement. “(It’s been) seeing how many people are willing to help because sometimes it just feels like a burden to try to do extra in the schools because we get so busy,” she said. “But seeing every teacher saying, ‘No, I want to help’ or ‘I can’t wait’ and seeing so many community members help.”
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