"You don't need to have kids to participate in the carnival," said Michelle. "We want to see it become more of a community project."
With that as a mission statement, the carnival committee made up of volunteers from the Twin Valley Elementary Center Parent Teacher Association is working to double the amount of money raised last year from $4,000 to approximately $8,000.
In an attempt to achieve that goal, Michelle and her various volunteers have done some fine tuning to the event which takes place Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the TV Elementary Center on Clymer Hill Road behind TV High School.
This year's edition will include a Pie Throw, a Balloon Prize Pop, an improved Silent Auction as well as an improved raffle among a scores of other games and events that will be held up and down hallways and in lobbies of the elementary center.
"We are trying to add and change things slightly so it isn't boring," said Michelle of this year's carnival. For example, the
dollar raffle has a DVD player and two movies as its grand prize; a CD headphone set and player as second prize; third prize is a "Pamper Me Basket" filled with lotions and notions and gift certificates for a massage and a manicure; and fourth prize is a "Family Game Tub" loaded with board games, legos, and hand-held electronic games among others.
Over in the All-Purpose Room, Dr. Scott Wallace, D.D.S., Bob Pleis, the center's principal and Todd Weller, the center's art teacher will be literally taking a pie in the face as students, parents, and friends line up to take their best shot at a dollar-a -throw in the new "Pie Throw" event, which will last for one hour.
For $3 a balloon, folks can press their luck to see what kind of prize awaits them with each balloon. Prizes range in value from a minimum of $3 to a maximum of $50.
The Silent Auction, which will run in the center's library from the first bid at 11 a.m. to the last bid at 2:30 p.m., will put at least 100 items on the bid board. Michelle explained, "There is no fee to enter the auction, but everyone must register and receive an identification number before entering the bidding."
"You can come back and rebid," she said. "The person with the last bid (at 2:30 p.m.) walks away with the item."
She also pointed out that there will be minimum opening bids on some items. In order to make the bidding go a bit smoother, bidding will be done on an incremental basis with the increments based on the value of an item. "We're doing it this way, so we can eliminate the chance that someone will try to outbid someone else by, say, one cent," said Michelle."
The items up for bid range from tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Reading Royals to dining certificates to restaurants in the Tri County region, contemporary designer bench, to a complete dental bleeching package from a local dentist, to a complete paid birthday child's birthday for up to ten guests at a local bowling center.
Four items of art top the bid list. Three prints by renowned Chester County watercolor artist Richard Bollinger and a Jamie Wyeth print, "September 11" depicting the three firemen raising the U.S. flag at Ground Zero, donated by Strobe's Mill Gallery in West Chester will be the auction's hot items, promised Michelle.
Bollinger's prints are two winter scenes, "Anselma" (the historic Anslema Mill), and "Brandywine Crossing" (a scenic spot along the Brandywine Creek), and a spring scene called "Revival" which depicts a Chester County dwelling in sprng time with its reflection in a pond.
The original of the Wyeth print went for $400,000 at a New York auction in November with the proceeds going to the September 11 Fund.
Since December, the Winter Carnival committee continues to put in hundreds of hours each week in scouring the Tri County region and beyond to get as many donations from businesses and organizations as possible. To support these efforts on the marketing front, the committee has put together a comprehensive campaign that began with notes going home to the parents of children at the elementary center, a newsletter about the carnival itself set to go home this week, and a special Silent Auction brochure which will be delivered to the more than 100 auction contributors so they can be available at businesses and organizations throughout the Tri County region.
If there is an underlying strategy for this year's winter carnival, it is donation. As Michelle Eliott puts it, "Donations are great because it means more profit for us."
Proceeds from the Twin Valley Elementary Center Winter Carnival will go to the center itself to help fund items and projects during the school year.