Families, friends and students come together to enjoy the local carnival
Hot summer nights, the smell of funnel cake in the air, mouths stained blue from snow cones and some friendly competition between friends can only mean one thing — carnival season is upon us. The Washington Township High School band hosted its annual carnival last week, and it was a hit with families across the community.
The carnival is manned mostly by students in the marching band, color guard and their parents.
“As a band parent we do it each year to raise money for the marching band,” Greg Davis, father of Morgan Davis, said.
“It’s fun working,” Morgan added. “The band only requires us to volunteer two nights a week but almost all of us come out every night to work it because we have so much fun spending time together, working the games and seeing people here.”
The Davis family agreed that working the candy wheel game was the most fun.
Natasha Cottrell, another band parent, went into more detail.
“This is one of the biggest fundraisers,” she said. “It helps buy T-shirts, food and water for the kids when they’re at competitions.”
Cottrell’s son, Nick, was working the milk-jug-ball-toss game, but said a different booth was his favorite.
“I’ve been volunteering for four years now,” he said. “The dunk tank’s my favorite. It’s a lot of fun having kids try to knock me down.”
A lot of families look forward to the event every year.
Trish Hull said, “It’s great for the family, everybody loves it.”
Hull added her family has been going for seven years.
Mia Silkensen, Sebastian Berger and Liam Berger described their favorite parts of the carnival.
“The Ferris Wheel,” Silkensen said. “Because it goes super high and you get a good view!”
“The Ferris Wheel because it goes fast!” Sebastian Berger chimed in.
“The obstacle course is fun,” Liam Berger added.
For Tamir Veney, the games are the most fun aspect of the carnival.
“My favorite game is the ball-toss game,” he said. “It’s a challenge for me.”
Shannon Errig brought her soon-to-be 1-year-old son Levi to his first carnival on July 10.
“My favorite part of sharing the experience was seeing his face light up on the spinning teddy bear ride,” she said.
Calvin Spencer, the band director, discussed the importance of the carnival for both the community and the band.
“It’s wonderful because it’s a great chance for us to give back to the community and helps fundraise for the band,” he said. “We travel a lot up and down the east coast. Last year we went to New Orleans and marched in the Sugar Bowl Parade. The money we get from this is used for a lot of things to help us perform at a high level.” While Spencer didn’t specify a dollar amount, the event is a success considering its longevity in the community.
Volunteering at the carnival is a labor of love for the members of the Washington Township band. Toni Garcia, Connor Petersen and Alyssa Marrero talked about what their favorite event is.
“My favorite event to work is the cork gun game,” Garcia said. “It’s the most interactive to me and we make it fun for them to come up and play.”
“It’s really fun [working the carnival],” Petersen, who was working the ball toss alongside Marrero, said. “I love watching kids come up, tossing the balls and trying to win a prize.”
“I like seeing all the people,” Marrero said. “The kids get really excited. It’s fun seeing them try to win.”
Petersen and Marrero chimed in by saying they’ve been coming to the carnival for as long as they can remember.
Spencer who is ever proud of his team added, “My kids in the program are wonderful. We stress community involvement to the kids, making sure that when we do things with the band they represent Washington Township in the best way possible. My goal is to bring pride to the organization, the school and to the community in any way, shape and form.”