WESLEY CHAPEL – The air will soon be ringing with the sounds of carnival rides, filled with the aroma of fresh food and full of excitement as hundreds of families turn out for an evening of food, fun and fundraising at Wesley Chapel Elementary School.
The fourth annual Wesley Chapel Elementary School Spring Fling Thing and Bid$ for Our Kids Silent Auction will take place Friday, May 3, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the school, 110 S. Potter Road in Wesley Chapel. Proceeds from food sales, the silent auction and wristbands – which are required for rides and bounce houses – will benefit Wesley Chapel Elementary.
The event began in 2010 as a means of raising funds through a carnival-type atmosphere. It has since grown into a large annual event, offering something new every year.
“It became very popular to use this as a fundraiser to gain funds for our operating budget,” said Christie McHaney, chairperson of the spring fling and a member of the school’s parent-teacher group.
The event will feature carnival rides, a foam pit, nine inflatable bounce houses, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, hair painting, fire trucks, the Chick-fil-A cow, a dunking booth, prizes and a live DJ. Pyro Pigs BBQ, Brooklyn Pizza, Goldfinger’s NY Style Hot Dogs and other vendors will provide fresh food. This year’s first-time attractions will include a rock climbing wall, a handful of new games and a photo booth.
McHaney said the carnival rides are a huge attraction for older children and the hair painting station is something that’s practically universally appealing.
“Every single child that comes to the spring fling gets their hair painted,” she said. “It’s kind of a Wesley Chapel staple that every child leaves here with crazy hair.”
While the food sales and carnival rides and games are successful, the real fundraising comes from the Bid$ for Kids Silent Auction. McHaney said the silent auction features dozens of items businesses, groups and individuals have donated to help the school raise money. Featured prizes in the past have included tickets to Disney World, vacation packages, admission to sight-seeing attractions, wine tasting events, tickets for dry cleaning and car wash services and more.
“There are things for adults and kids,” McHaney said. “All items are donated by local and national businesses and families, and all the money goes back to the school.” She added the school plans to use the funds raised to foster enrichment programs (such as music and the computer lab), cover tutoring programs, replace outdated technology and make significant improvements to the playground.
McHaney’s two children attend Wesley Chapel Elementary and have served as the spring fling’s advocates since McHaney accepted the role of festival chairperson earlier this school year, she said.
“They haven’t stopped talking about it since last year,” McHaney said. “They’ve gotten to watch it unfold in our living room for the past eight months or so. The
kids, that’s all they talk about right now.”
McHaney believes her own children’s enthusiasm is a testament to the excitement other families feel when they visit the spring fling, and she hopes even more families throughout the area will join in on the fun this year.
“You don’t need to go to a huge amusement park where you have to worry about your child,” she said. “You can have fun right here.”
For more information about the event or the silent auction, go to www.wesley chapelpto.com. Wristbands are required for rides and bounce houses and can be purchased online for $12 through Monday, April 29, or at the gate on the day of the event for $15.