A festive fundraiser

WAXHAW – Rea View Elementary School is bringing the community together for the third year in a row to raise funds for school improvements through the annual Rockin’ at Rea View Fall Festival.

The festival takes place Saturday, Oct. 19, from noon to 5 p.m. at the school, 320 Reid Dairy Road. The event features activities for children, basket raffles, food, a silent auction and more.

Rea View previously hosted a fundraiser in the spring, but the school’s parent-teacher group made the decision during the 2011-12 school year to move the event to the fall.

“We tend to find people are more engaged” in the fall, Mary Arcure, president of the school’s parent-teacher group, said. “Attendance is higher; volunteer participation is higher in the fall as opposed to spring. At the end of the school year, it’s hard to compete with all the spring events there.”

This is the third consecutive year the school has hosted the festival in the fall and the second year sporting the “Rockin’ at Rea View” theme. New to this year is what Arcure calls a “retro twist” – a focus on combining modern games and activities with those of the past.

For instance, the festival will feature a sock hop booth alongside a truck with modern video games. There also will be a “retro” pumpkin-carving contest, ski ball, face painting, a duck pond and some “carnival games from the past,” Arcure said.

“We’re going back to the future, mixing the old with the new,” she said.

The annual dunking booth is another huge draw for kids, Arcure said. Rea View teachers volunteer to spend 30 minutes in the dunking booth, and all money raised from the booth benefits the teacher enhancement fund – a pool of money teachers can use for necessary classroom expenses, such as additional instruction materials.

“Basically, it goes to anything they might need to assist in educating the students,” Arcure said.

Other attractions will include a Twister game station, a glamour station and food like cotton candy, root beer floats, ice cream, Italian ice, Palone’s Pizza and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

The fall festival also will include two major fundraising endeavors: a silent auction and a basket raffle. Shoppers can come to a “preview night” on Friday, Oct. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. and begin bidding on the silent auction and purchasing tickets for the basket raffle. The raffle will feature more than 30 baskets with different themes, including American Girl Doll, Carolina Panthers, iBasket, Carowinds Craze, Is Your Pet Smart?, Great Wolf Lodge, Loads of Legos, Just for Mom and more.

All funds raised during the fall festival will go to the school’s parent-teacher group, who then turns the money over to the school for specific projects. The event raised $23,000 for playground improvements and other projects last year, and Arcure said the group would love to hit the $25,000 mark with the 2013 festival.

Funds raised this year will primarily go toward enhanced instructional materials and resources for teachers and students, as well as replacing aging equipment. “Secondary goals” include improving the school’s campus and outdoor features, providing education and recognition programs for students and more, Arcure said.

But the annual festival is about more than just raising funds for Rea View, she said. “It’s a two-fold purpose. Fundraising for the school benefits the school, but much more (about the festival) benefits the community.”

Rea View reaches beyond its own students, parents and faculty when organizing the annual festival. Sandy Ridge and Marvin elementary schools – Rea View’s fellow cluster schools – are invited to participate. Marvin Ridge middle and high schools also participate, lending members of their student beta clubs to help with the event each year.

Arcure said an estimated 1,000 people show up each year for the festival, and parents and children from Rea View and other Union County areas always seem to have a good time.

“It’s just an enjoyable time for the entire family,” she said. “It’s a great memory to each child during their school years, and it’s an event that’s looked forward to every year.”

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