The Harding Dads Club is hard at it again this year presenting the annual Harding Carnival & Pumpkin Patch. Next Sunday the club will be fielding our 3rd annual production of this long-running school tradition on the Harding Baseball Field on Ashbury Avenue at C Street. Expect the best games from last year, some surprise new additions to the line-up and an updated entertainment format that has been re-focused to maximize family-fun on the midway. This year the carnival will start an hour earlier than last year (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.) and also feature more distractions for adults, as well as kiddies.
As an active Dads Club member and producer of this year’s carnival, I’m excited to see the enthusiasm for this community event grow year-over-year. Last year’s attendance was over 1,000 people and more than 50 volunteer parents from the school. This year we have even more parents involved and hope to see even more of the community turnout on Sunday.
In 2011 we were an unwitting victim of our own success with solid lines for the great play action at our game booths and spot-on carnival prizes. This year we set up most of the booths to let even more kids play at the same time and added new games to the mix, as well. We also added more midway entertainers to interact with the kids while they’re waiting in line, so if they can’t tear themselves away from the games and sit down for one of our spectacles on the main stage, they will still get a show.
Entertainment for this year includes midway balloon-twisting and face-painting by the Professor and his Pop-up Carnival entourage. Seasoned clowns Barrel Full of Monkeys will be on the main stage and unicycling/stilt-walking through the crowd. Two puppet shows will be presented on the main stage by the Professor, as well as juggling and origami (you have to see it to love it) from expert carnival entertainer Jeremy Shafer. We’re also very excited to welcome back Sean Lee’s 1Man Banjo! for his third appearance in the carnival!
In addition to numerous community sponsors like Kensington Chevron Station, Don’s Tire Service and Benchmark Pizzeria, we’re happy to host Marvin Gardens as our official pumpkin patch sponsor with a cameo appearance in the patch from the folks at Rabbit Ears.
For the adults, we have the return of the Elevation 66 Beer Garden with live music and tarot card readings on the midway in our new fortune telling booth.
Rounding out all the games and entertainment are our now famous prize booth (stocked with twice as many goodies as last year!) and high-value food and snack booths with BBQ meals, and old-timey carnival favorites. We’ve tweaked it all in response to feedback from past attendees and will offer even more of everything at the same great prices we did before.
Of course we can’t let all our cats out of the bag, so I hope that everyone comes down to check out the other surprises we have planned and what promises to be a great day for the whole family.
Gunther Rohrer is a member of the Harding Dads Club.