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Wakefield-Marenisco 'Fun Frolic' draws busy crowd

 

October 28, 2019

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

WHILE PLAYING in the toddler area of a Saturday "Fun Frolic" at the Wakefield-Marenisco K-12 School, Luka Holmberg, 2, finds that it's much easier to score a basket by just stuffing the ball into the net. His mom, Nikki Holmberg, supervises.

By P.J. GLISSON

news@yourdailyglobe.com

Wakefield - A Saturday "Fun Frolic" in Wakefield was a chance to celebrate Halloween early with no end of candy, games, fun and fright.

Held in the gym of the Wakefield-Marenisco K-12 School, the event was a huge success, maintaining a full crowd throughout a two-hour period in the late afternoon and early evening.

The room was full of energy as cowboys, ballerinas and basketball players happily mingled with dinosaurs, wild animals and Air Force troopers. Some superheroes also appeared to be taking a much-deserved day off in order to party with pals.

Emma Augenstein, a member of the school's junior class, credited superintendent Jason Gustafson for setting up the operation with the help of his son, Alex.

"They asked if the junior class wanted to sponsor it and raise money for the prom," she said, adding that she and her classmates also regarded their roles as a way to enjoy a holiday long associated with tricks and treats.

Many of the students actively participated in the event by managing the various games set up around the periphery of the gym. Those activities included "fishing" for treats, tossing beanbags into monster mouths, or other types of target practice.

Most attempts resulted with some sort of goody to add to each child's portable pumpkin.

The superintendent himself was manning the lollypop pick, which was a tall stand at which passing kids could simply pick a pop without even demonstrating any athletic prowess.

Gustafson explained that, if the tip of the lolly stick was black, the lucky child then could choose what appeared to be coveted little ghosts beckoning above the suckers.

According to Gustafson, much of the party was similar to previous years, but he did add, "The raffle prize table is back. We heard that people missed it."

Moreover, he said, "That's really the biggest money-maker. We don't charge for the games."

Helping to process raffled items was Wendy Komula, Gustafson's mother-in-law, who now lives in Madison, Wis., but is originally from Bessemer. In addition to contributing to the weekend revelry, Komula said it was great to visit family and friends here before winter closes in.

Samantha Milton of Wakefield, whose kids attend the Wakefield-Marenisco School, also helped to run that table.

The middle of the gym was designed specifically for toddlers, with a tiny acrylic house, a crawl-through area, and a basketball hoop.

Seated there in view of the little ones was Marsha Vestich, a member of the Wakefield-Marenisco board of education. "They come from all over," she said of the overall crowd, which included residents of many surrounding towns and communities.

The Haunted Hallway, which was directly below the gym, is always a major aspect of the frolic, albeit with older kids who are brave enough to enter it.

Created with careful detail by Gustafson and his son, it began and ended with lit pumpkins on or near the staircase on each side.

The hall itself was packed with scary stuff such as ghosts and tombstones, and one alcove had a life-sized skeleton sitting at a fully-set table. The entire experience was rife with colored, flashing lights and eerie, ghoulish sounds.

Fifth grader Dennis ("D.J.") Elam, Jr. even hid around one corner of the hallway and jumped out to scare the constant flow of kids, who waited patiently for their turn when necessary.

A concessions area outside of the gym also helped to assure that kids and their parents could sustain themselves on something other than a sugar high. Among items available there were pizza, hot dogs, chips and beverages.

Tim Lynott of Wakefield, who was just settling down to enjoy a snack with his son Bryson, 9, and his nephew, Kalon, 7, of Bessemer, said, "They love it, especially putting the costumes on."

Lynott said, in fact, that the opportunity to wear a costume seemed to be what the boys enjoyed the most.

 
 

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