By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Elephants and tigers, ponies and pigs…and a little choo-choo train made of large blue barrels put on wheels and linked together behind a small tractor.
The Nov. 4 Friday evening Fall Festival at Pinetta Elementary School had a little bit of everything.
Okay, the tiger was a bounce house that looked like a huge friendly cartoon tiger lying on his back, paws in the air, while children bounced on his tummy. There was only one elephant, but it was real and it was big, waiting for brave souls to climb up on a huge platform and onto his back for a thrilling ride high up in the air. Next to the elephant were the ever-popular pony rides, where children led their parents amid choruses of “oh, pleeeeese!”
As for the pig, it was a cute little pink pig, about the size of a really, really huge house cat. During most of the festival, it waited in a small pen and burrowed into a pile of hay, waiting to find out which lucky teacher would win the honor, at the end of the evening, of kissing the pig. Seriously.
Next to the little piglet’s pen was a tray full of piggy banks, each labeled with a different teacher’s name. Throughout the festival evening, the children “voted” for the teacher they wanted to see kiss the pig, by dropping coins into the appropriate piggy bank. At the end of the evening, the teacher with the most money in his or her piggy bank would be declared the winner.
The train ride was another popular attraction that had children lining up to take a ride around the schoolyard and even into a wooded area at the back. There were cakewalks with lots of cakes for the winners, and lots of games such as the basketball toss and the fishing game and knocking over soda bottles with a baseball.
The smell of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs was everywhere for hungry festival-goers, but the longest line by far was for the funnel cakes. Amy Kendrick, June Lucas and school principal Beth Moore stayed busy frying funnel cake after funnel cake and powdering each one with fine white sugar, while Moore recounted the story of the Vietnamese potbellied pig that was the longtime official pet for Pinetta Elementary School many years ago, living in a pen at the back of the playground.
At the end of an exciting evening was the moment everyone had been waiting for: the piggy banks were collected, the money counted, and the winning teacher announced – June Lucas.
Smiling, Lucas stepped forward and climbed up on a picnic table and kissed the little pig right on the snout, not once but twice, amid cheers and applause.
Meanwhile, the sunny late afternoon was now the dark of early nightfall, and the nip in the air from earlier in the afternoon was now a definite chill — perfect fall festival weather. There was still a glowing dark red band along the western horizon as the parents and children slowly began drifting away from the festival grounds, with their balloons and colorful hats and other prizes. No one seemed in much of a hurry to leave, especially some of the children. They had been having too much fun.
Besides, the tiger was still waiting. Just one more round of bouncing. Oh, pleeeeese!
For video clips of the festival, check out our web site at www.greenepublishing.com