To make use of the open space in the rear of J. Fithian Tatem Elementary School, its Parent-Teacher Association decided to make a big splash and turn its biggest fundraiser of the year into a carnival.
Students and parents of Tatem – as well as the community at large – are welcome to attend the 2019 edition of the school’s fair on Saturday, May 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. (Rain date: Saturday, May 18 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
“I got some new committee members last spring. I went around and asked people to help me out, and we formed a great new committee with great new ideas. My first inclination was, ‘this is the way we’ve always done it,’ but then came to realize that wasn’t a good enough answer, so we focused on how we could make it better,” said Megan York Parker, chairperson of the Tatem fair committee.
“Why are we doing it? Does it make sense? Is it going to be profitable for us? It is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so that matters a lot. We also wanted to make it really engaging and fun for everyone who comes.”
For the first time since its inception, this year’s fair will take place in the late afternoon and evening, transforming the modern, busy, digital world into a simpler time. Food vendors will include Whole Hog Truck, grilled hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, cotton candy, Kona Shave Ice, and everyone’s favorite ice cream man, Mister Softee.
“We totally revamped it: new attractions, new vendors, a big carousel, there’s an American Ninja Warrior-style course, we have an inflatable train obstacle that you crawl through, and we have this thing that you can climb up that’s 20 feet in the air and then slide back down,” Parker added.
“We’ll also have performers from the Philly Circus, fire jugglers, a stilt walker, roving jugglers. Everything’s going to be outside, which is why we added a rain date. If it is raining on the 4th, I have to make a decision 24 hours prior, so on Friday night, I’ll decide if I’m going to call it or not. We have an event on the Tatem PTA Facebook page, so I’m posting updates there.”
Adults are encouraged to let their inner child loose, but attractions that would be strictly geared toward parents are on hold.
“We won’t have a beer garden, if that’s what you’re getting at. Maybe in 2020. I don’t know if the principal (Valerie Cline) would go for it, so we’re trying to keep things easy for her this year. I didn’t want to push the envelope too much,” Parker said with a hearty laugh.
For those interested, the fair will have a preview with items for a silent auction, which Parker expects should be set up by 3 p.m. After that, there are plans for a live stream of the Kentucky Derby at 6:30 p.m., a fire-juggling show around 7:45, then announcing winners of the silent auction and various raffles before winding down between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg, it’s a notable cause, you can put the kids to bed, well fed and tired,” Parker said.