by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A carnival atmosphere will be present throughout the Morinville Public Elementary School (MPES) grounds June 14 when the 3rd Annual MPES Community Carnival once again brings families together for a Saturday of fun.
“It’s the only family event in the area that I know of that’s completely free. It’s the one where any kid can come and every kid gets the same experience,” said MPES Parents’ Fundraising Association member and event organizer Leah Elzinga. She describes the event provides a link between families attending the carnival and local community groups and programs, a combination the association believes provides an excellent opportunity for organizations to recruit volunteers, distribute information, and promote their causes at no cost to the organizations.
In its inaugural year in 2012, the event drew 500 parents and their children. An expanded carnival in 2013 saw 1,000 attendees. Elzinga and the association are anticipating drawing 1,500 people to this year’s event. “I would say the growth is just related to the quality of the event, the number of activities that we provide for children, and how easy we make it for families to attend,” she said.
This year’s carnival will return to the MPES grounds, and organizers have put together a larger carnival than last year. In addition to face painting, tattoos, and a Toddler Zone, the association is bringing in Zoo 2 U, an exotic petting zoo, and a travelling medieval group that will be walking the grounds. Additionally, the grounds will include two large dragon-themed bouncy castles and a penny carnival full of carnival games without the need to deposit pennies to play them. All events are completely free.
Although the events are completely free for children, the association will be holding a raffle with a number of prizes. Monies from the raffle will assist with the building of a school playground that will also serve as a community playground. “Every single dollar from the raffle goes directly to [the playground fund],” Elzinga said of their fundraising efforts for a new playground, adding the event is entirely funded through sponsorships and donations. “None of the money to host the carnival comes from the school board. Everything is paid for either through volunteer efforts or donations.”
The MPES Community Carnival takes place on the Morinville Public Elementary School Grounds (10020 101 Avenue) June 14 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Further details can be found at mpescommunitycarnival.blogspot.ca.