Oompa Loompas couldn’t have done it better | NevadaAppeal.com

Oompa Loompas couldn’t have done it better

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Emma Musser, 13, works on the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory in preparation for the Virginia City Middle School Halloween Carnival. The carnival, which is tonight from 5:30-9 p.m., will benefit student activities. Cathleen Allison Nevada Appeal

Designing a candy-making factory is usually left to Oompa Loompas, but students at Virginia City Middle School undertaking such a daunting project finished this week.

They are not Oompa Loompas.

“We’ve been working on (the factory) since the beginning of the year,” said Emma Musser, 13. “You have to decorate it perfectly. You have it make to look just right.”

Today, the candy-making factory is being moved to the gym floor as the background decoration for the cakewalk at the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Carnival at the middle school.

While the candy produced by the machine is either Styrofoam or cardboard, plenty of sweets will be available at the cake walk.

“We’ve had everyone at the school bring in something,” said art and English teacher Katie Swafford, who is overseeing tonight’s fundraising event. “We’ll have cake, Rice Krispies treats, all kinds of things.”

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Popcorn, sno-cones, cotton candy, pretzels and tacos, made by students at school throughout the day, will be for sale, along with the candy.

“We do (a carnival) every year,” Swafford said. “This is our eighth annual. It’s our school’s fundraiser. All the money we raise goes to our student activities fund.”

Between $2,500 and $3,500 comes in through sales of raffle tickets, food and booth activities each year. The money goes for field trips, sporting equipment and computer printers.

“It brings in the entire community,” said Swafford who has run the event since its inception. “It’s the one time we have all the middle school parents and all the kids together.”

Each middle school class will set up a booth, some of which will feature face painting, fake tattoos, a bounce house and bean bag toss. Connie Robertson’s journalism students will be taking pictures of people posing in Oompa Loompa cut-outs against a backdrop featuring a chocolate river. Mara Chapman, 11, and Alexa Ballinger, 14, applied last-minute touches Wednesday afternoon.

Mara, who is dressing as a Goth cheerleader for the Halloween festivities, said she prefers the 2005 Tim Burton “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” more than the 1971 Mel Stuart “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The school’s annual festival is themed after a movie each year.

“I think the old one was more targeted at the generation before me,” Mara said. “It doesn’t capture my attention. The new one is creepier and I can connect the people to the characters.”

Tyler Burch, 11, sold the most raffle tickets at a $1 a piece. To hit 134, he visited teachers at the elementary school and also talked his parents into purchasing large amounts. The trick was to tell people what they could win, like T-shirts and ski packages.

“I was being nice,” said Tyler, who is dressing as a Jedi for Halloween. “I was saying please and stuff.”

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

If you go

What: Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Carnival, the eighth annual Halloween fundraiser

Where: Virginia City Middle School, 127 S. D St.

When: 5:30-9 tonight

Activities: Cake walk, haunted house, bounce house, pictures as Oompa Loompas, raffles, food and more

Call: Katie Swafford at 847-0980