TRAFTON — At the end of September, the Trafton Community Co-Op commemorated its first anniversary and the centennial of the former Trafton School that serves as its facilities.
At the start of November, barely a month later, the former Trafton School was packed with families again, as the Trafton Community Co-Op staged its second annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Nov. 3.
“We’ve had about 75 kids so far, running in and out and around,” said Pastor Gary Ray of the Oso Community Chapel, who coordinates the Trafton Community Co-Op with his daughter Randi. “We just wanted to offer something fun for the whole family for not a lot of expense. It’s small and simple, but there’s a lot of variety here.”
Indeed, the four-hour festival took up space on both floors of the former Trafton School. On the ground floor, Allen Sheran practiced his golf putting while Kylie Barton did her best to keep her hula hoop circling her waist and not falling on the floor. On the upper floor, Kael Baker practiced his pitching with a velcro ball toss while Ryan Ray, son of Gary and brother of Randi, did his best to pass on his recently acquired juggling skills.
“I just started doing this over the summer,” Ryan Ray said, and he demonstrated his moves to Triston Moss and Orion Webb, with varying degrees of success. “I ducked my head into one of the tents at the Stillaguamish Festival of the River and they taught me. The trick is to keep your arc consistent every time you throw the ball, so that you’re not running all over the place just to catch it.”
While Ryan Ray’s on-the-spot juggling training proved to be one of the more popular activities for the older kids, Gary Ray echoed several parents who deemed the cakewalk and the “fishing booth” the busiest attractions among the younger children.
“My youngest is 21, so my own kids are well past this stuff, but I’m still going strong with it,” said Cherene Graber, a 26-year member of the Oso Community Chapel who supervised a few of the day’s games. “I want there to be a positive place for our youth, where kids can be kids. Just seeing their smiles when they do things even as simple as throwing velcro darts is amazing.”
Casey and Noelle Blacker brought their two sons, 8-month-old Aaron and 2-year-old Collin, and while Aaron was perhaps a bit too young to fully appreciate the activities, his big brother was more than ready to enter into the spirit of the event.
“Collin’s at the age where he likes throwing things, and not necessarily at targets,” Casey Blacker laughed. “There’s just a friendly atmosphere and a hometown feel here. It’s great when you can take the kids out and just let them enjoy each other.”
Darrell Shanks, who brought his own three sons, was even more effusive in his praise.
“When the whole community can get together for an event like this, that’s what makes America, America,” Shanks said.
Gary Ray anticipates that next year’s Fall Festival might take place in September rather than October, to take better advantage of the Trafton School’s outdoor playfields.
You can find out more or “like” the Trafton Community Center online at www.facebook.com/TraftonCommunityCenter.