By Simon Ginns
Wahgunyah Primary School’s first fair was a fun-filled evening that didn’t cost families a small fortune. It was exactly what the school’s Parent Group who organised the event had wanted.
The atmosphere of the playground transformed in the hour following Friday’s last school bell. Under trees hung with colourful bunting, children moved between activities with excited purpose. For the next three hours fun was the new school rule.
More than 250 people of all ages enjoyed the 15 stalls and games on offer.
The animal farm, jumping castles and face painting were popular with younger visitors. The stand-out winner for crowd entertainment was the water pump challenge. Seeing someone else get doused with a bucket of water is magical and has universal appeal.
The idea of having a school fair began almost two years ago. Josh Reid, Wahgunyah Primary School Principal, explained how the event evolved.
“We used to do what we called celebration night - it was really low key. The parents would come along and have a look at what the kids did in their work and we had a bit of a book fair,” Mr Reid said.
“That was what the school did for many many years.
“Last year as part of celebration night we got a jumping castle and an animal farm, and that was really successful.
“We had some great new families in the school that said ‘why don’t we do a fair like some of the other schools do?’”
Unlike many public events, the fair was not intended to be a fundraiser for the school.
“We are not here to try and make a ton of cash. We are here to try and give back to the community and get people into the school that may not have been here before,” Mr Reid said.
“The Parent Group has tried to subsidise things so that people can come and have fun and not feel the pressure in the wallet.”
Financial support and donations by 12 local businesses made Friday’s event possible.
Mr Reid believes that the school fair will become an important event in the town’s calendar. He also has a clear vision for the role of the school in the community.
“In small towns the things that connect people are often the pub and the school. I’d like to see the school as a real hub for the community. Something that families, even if their kids don’t go here, feel comfortable with when they walk through the gates,” he said.