Ralston Elementary kicks off spooky season with annual fall fest

A great boo-mmunity event


For Ralston Elementary School families, Halloween started 30 days early.

The Genesee-area school hosted its annual fall festival Oct. 1, where youngsters donned their costumes, collected candy, played games, and enjoyed other activities.

Jessica Klingsporn, who helped organize this year’s event, anticipated 650-700 attendees throughout the afternoon. The festival is Ralston Elementary’s biggest fundraiser.

Last year’s silent auction raised $18,000 for the school, and Klingsporn was hoping to reach $20,000 this year. The money goes toward upgrading the school’s technology; maintaining full-time arts, music, and physical education teachers; hiring paraprofessionals; and anything else the school might need, she explained.

On top of crucial fundraising, the fall festival is always a blast for the students and their families.

“Kids get their costumes early for the event,” she continued.

Parents Mary Ann and Jason Whetzal were operating the first-grade class’s trunk-or-treat station. The two used their family’s red Jeep, some greenery, inflatable dinosaurs and zookeeper-like outfits as part of the “Jurassic Park” theme.

Mary Ann explained how they’d seen a similar idea at another trunk-or-treat, and put the station together with help from other parents.

It was the Whetzals’ first time at fall fest, with Mary Ann saying, “It’s really cool to see the community rallying around the school.”

Over at the popcorn station, parents Devin and Alexis Statham kept the kernels popping as more and more youngsters stopped by. It was the Stathams’ second year at the event, with the two describing how they volunteered because it’s always fun.

Devin said fellow parents always turn out to help put the event together, because everyone appreciates all the work the staff puts in throughout the year.

For daughter Hadley, 4, who was dressed as Sky from “Paw Patrol,” the event had a different allure. She really enjoyed the candy and playing on the inflatable obstacle courses.

Other children shared their excitement for candy and other goodies. Many were clearly enjoying seeing their friends on a Saturday and showing off their Halloween costumes a month early.

Hunter Rupp, a sixth-grader from The Manning School, was sporting an inflatable balloon-animal costume as he collected candy at the trunk-or-treat stations. Hunter’s younger sister attends Ralston Elementary, and it was the family’s first experience at fall fest.

Parents Dan and Sara Rupp explained how the family moved here from New Jersey three months ago. So, for them, the fall fest was “a great way to get involved” and get to know other families, Sara explained.

“It’s a great community event,” she said.

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