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Harvest Festival 2008

November 3rd, 2008

Mother Nature has been working overtime in Philadelphia recently, but the nasty weather that caused the rescheduling of Harvest Festival from Saturday to Sunday cleared in time for hundreds of people to enjoy a fabulous street fair on Lombard Street. Kudos to event chairs Jim King and Tania Rorke for their vision, flexibility and hours of hard work!

A bagpiper-led parade around the block opened the festivities, and then it was time to have fun.  The West Lawn had the moon bounce and a speed pitch game where you could throw to favorite Phillie Chase Utley.  The spin art station produced masterpieces all day long, and kids enjoyed a wide variety of crafts.  Back in the street, the food station was busy serving up grilled food, chili, mac & cheese, and other goodies to the hungry crowds at one end of the block and a giant inflatable obstacle course held down the other.  In between, a used book sale, traditional games and the DJ kept things lively all day.

But the longest lines led to the front door of the school.  There, behind yellow caution tape barriers lay the entrance to a terrifying, ghoul-infested, spooky, strobe-lit…….haunted house.  The dead bodies in the reception area were almost hidden by the tangle of cobwebs.  The three Kindergarten rooms, where, during the school day, innocent children feel safe and happy, had been taken over by a lunatic chef serving up rat tartare and fresh spleen, a mad scientist creating a monster with fog and electricity, a dungeon torture chamber with a rack and pillory and an evil doctor seeking his next victim.  Thanks to Steve Meister and his staff for their talent, time and sense of the truly strange.

After terrified children ran screaming through the lair of the giant spider to the blessed daylight of the West Lawn, they arrived safely at the Pumpkin Patch.  There, they could choose a pumpkin to paint or carve and take home as a fun decoration.  Other fun things to do included a pie eating contest, a walkabout with Jungle John and his exotic reptiles, and bidding on the fabulous baskets donated by each class.

The afternoon drew to a close when the King of Harvest Festival, third grader Cole Plachter and the Queens of Harvest Festival, (sisters Frances, K, Grace, 4 and Claire, 5 Sylvester) pulled the winning tickets.  First prize, the Philadelphia Dining Experience, went to Allison Boyd (ticket sold by Frances Sylvester,) Second prize, the Sports Ticket Extravaganza, went to Vicky Ofidis (ticket sold by Mario Ofidis,) and two Third prizes, wine from Moore Brothers and a gift certificate from Chefs Market, were won by Patrick Sylvester (ticket sold by Claire Sylvester) and Emma Cunningham (ticket sold by Chirose DePiano-Maryak.)