Metro Kids Celebrate Summer with a Carnival

Hillis, Monroe students get a taste of the State Fair during a recent Metro Kids Carnival.

Hillis, Monroe students get a taste of the State Fair during a recent Metro Kids Carnival.

About a hundred kids attending two of the DMPS summer Metro Kids childcare sites got a great tune-up for next month’s state fair on Wednesday when the carnival came to Monroe Elementary.

Okay, there was no livestock or giant slide or any food on sticks, but there were plenty of other attractions that collectively made for a day-long detour off the beaten path of the same old field trips.

Besides the Monroe kids the bunch from Hillis just a couple of miles west on Hickman Road joined in the fun of a wide assortment of indoor/outdoor games and activities that turned the Monroe gymnasium and playground into a midway full of sideshows.

“We decided to use some of our field trip budget to collaborate on this event,” said Julie Fetters, the Metro Kids Site Supervisor at Hillis. “We have great field trips to pools and venues like the zoo but some of these kids have been in Metro for several years and we wanted to give them something different; a change of pace.”

So she and her counterpart at Monroe, Yolanda Shields, picked the brain of Greenwood Site Supervisor Kelly Moeller who had experience with a carnival of her own and recommended it. She also had a sort of starter kit of leftover game boards, props and banners. Stir in rented ingredients like the inflatable “bounce house,” dunk tank and cotton candy and popcorn machines, some mild summer weather conditions, a hundred fun-loving kids and presto – “Hurry, hurry, step right up!”

According to Jane Bishop, the district’s Metro Kids Coordinator, there are a total of 470 kids being served this summer at nine sites. That’s served as opposed to merely being watched. Engaged might be another word, especially on Wednesday at Monroe.

Since the event was an all-day affair, from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM, the cotton candy and popcorn didn’t start flowing until after lunch which featured pizza donated by Casey’s. Once the dunk tank was filled caregivers took turns at the mercy of their charges. Chants went up for a succession of sitting ducks. “Mister Nick, Mister Nick,” they clamored in unison, and Nick Black, a Class of 2014 Hoover alum and Metro Kids staffer, climbed into place and took several dousings for the team to the delight of the crowd.

Inside, face-painting was popular as ever. There was ring toss, a lucky wheel to spin, a variation of musical chairs, penny-pitching and lots, lots more. Unlike real carnival games of chance where prizes come about as easy as scratching off a winning lottery ticket, these games were what a casino might call “loose slots.” Winners were everywhere. Those brown bags the kids were all carrying weren’t sack lunches. They were swag bags.

One prize, though, was proving hard to come by. Anyone who managed to toss a ping pong ball into one of a tableful of rather small fishbowls would be going home with a real, live goldfish! As of mid-afternoon only one had been “caught.”

So on second thought there was some livestock after all.

Photos of Metro Kids Carnival

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