Countdown has begun to the Genoa Elementary Parent Teacher Organization’s biggest event of the year.
The annual carnival will take place from 5-8 p.m. April 19, on the school grounds.
“It’s definitely our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said PTO President Brandi Baez.
In 2012, the event brought in around $15,000. The money raised goes toward school projects.
Last year the PTO membership built a second shelter house and provided teacher nameplates outside of classroom doors at the new elementary building, according to Principal Brenda Murphy.
The organization also helped underwrite field trip costs for every elementary grade level.
The event survives on the hospitality of a very supportive community, Baez said. “We have an amazing, amazing amount of donations that come in from our community. That can be anything from $5 from an individual to a large donation from a big company.”
And putting it together takes a concerted effort by a long list of volunteers. Besides parents, teachers and administrators, the volunteer crew consists of high school and middle school students and community members. They’ll set up the booths; oversee games, serve food and raffle prizes, offer directions and even help clean up.
“We definitely have a good group of volunteers,’ Baez said. “They’re the reason we can do this.”
Admission to The Carnival is free. And it doesn’t cost anything to play on the four, huge inflatable bouncy houses set up outside, take a crack at the 12 game booths or get your face painted.
The cash generated comes from the concession stand, the bake sale, a Heads and Tails game, a silent auction and a boatload of raffles.
“We sell the raffle tickets for $1 each. There are more than 400 prizes. Some of prizes can be anything from candy to a gardening kit,” Baez said.
There are also teachers’ baskets. These baskets are designed by individual classes and auctioned off. The contents vary. Some teachers have students make art projects like bookshelves or canvasses. Others pick a theme, say OSU, and have students bring in related items to fill the baskets.
The teachers do not have to participate. But for those who do, 100 percent of the basket profits go back to their classroom, Baez explained.
The largest money maker by far is the Big Ten Raffle. Those tickets are on sale now.
“There’s not any prize there that’s under $250 (in value). The prizes range from an IPad, to a water park trip to a watch with cash,” Baez said.
The annual event is so large that it requires the school to shut down access to the gymnasium on Thursday. “There’s a lot to do, especially when you are talking about bringing in tables and booths and setting up 400 prizes.”
The rest of The Carnival fun meanders through the hallways, cafeteria and music room.
“It’s a new school. We are just learning ways to get around it (for setup),” Baez said.
Genoa Elementary, which serves about 600 students, opened its doors for the first time during the 2011-2012 school year on the Genoa-Clay Center Road campus, housing the middle school and high school. The school unified students who had attended Brunner Elementary, located in Genoa, and Allen Central Elementary, located in Allen Township. The Genoa school board later sold Brunner and tore down Allen Central.
Flyers have been posted across the area, including Woodville, Elmore, Northwood, Oregon and Oak Harbor.
“We’re trying to get the word out. Everyone is invited,” Baez said.
For ticket information, call Baez at 419-266-0183.