ARLINGTON — The annual Kent Prairie Elementary Carnival drew thousands of attendees and dollars alike to the school on the evening of Friday, March 14, as families from throughout town were able to start celebrating at the school while it was still light out.
Kent Prairie Elementary Carnival Chair Carrie Byrum explained that the event was offered for free to all the school's families, but also welcomed families from the rest of Arlington to take part in the festivities as well.
"This event is not just for our Kent Prairie students, but for the whole community," Byrum said. "We try to keep it affordable for the whole family. We want families to be able to enjoy a night with each other, without spending a whole lot of money."
Byrum credited the event's sponsors — including the Meno and Serica families, as well as Custom Floor Heating of Arlington and the Buzz Inn Steakhouse of Smokey Point — with helping to keep it affordable.
"Jamba Juice came and sold smoothies, with 20 percent of the proceeds going right back to the school," Byrum said. "Les Schwab even brought in their pitching machine, and ran the game the whole night for us."
The Kent Prairie Elementary Carnival was staged with a carnival committee of about a dozen volunteers, with roughly 30 more volunteers — including parents, grandparents, teachers and other school staff, and even teenagers — helping to run the event's activities and serve up its food.
"We had a good turnout, although it seemed like less people than in previous years," said Byrum, who estimated that at least 1,000 people stopped by. "The decorations from Cindy Glunt, our decorations chair, were the highlight of the carnival. This year's theme of 'Candyland' was chosen by our fifth-grade students, and Cindy and her team did an outstanding job of bringing it to life."
This year's Kent Prairie Elementary Carnival generated an estimated $4,000 through its silent auction, and another $2,000 through its food and ticket sales. According to Byrum, the Kent Prairie Elementary PTA uses these monies to help support the school's library, technology and student grants, the latter including field trips and special speakers.