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More than 200 children turn out for Fall Festival

October 31, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Approximately 210 youngsters and their families poured into the fellowship hall of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church early Saturday afternoon dressed in costume to participate in the Fall Festival.

"I think everybody had a good time," event chairman Peggy Cozadd said. "We had a good turnout."

As the youngsters entered the hall they were given a goody bag, which Cozadd said included a toothbrush and toothpaste from Riverside Dental.

Article Photos

Tonya Player, Pine Island Public Library associate for Youth Services, shared spooky stories during the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island Fall Festival Saturday, which attracted a crowd of youngsters dressed in costume.

"The kids have had fantastic costumes," Cozadd said.

The hall included many games that were sponsored by different organizations and businesses where the kids could win more goodies. Bounce houses were also set up outside for the kids to enjoy as well.

Pat Burman, co-chair of the event, said the response from the booth sponsors was great.

Lions Club President Mary Von Burg said this is the second year she has participated in the festival.

"The kids are tremendous," she said, which is why she enjoys manning a booth.

The kids had an opportunity to spin a wheel up to three times to see if they would land on one of four winning pieces to pick out a prize, which ranged from bubbles to coloring books and crayons.

Von Burg also thought the Kiwanis Club did a terrific job in placing the outside bounce houses close to the church for the children this year.

She said they will continue to sponsor a booth at the festival for as long as they can.

Charmaine Gissiner, with the Pine Island Water Company, brought games for the third year for the youngsters to enjoy.

"I think it's great," she said of the event because it is a good event for the family. "It's really good for the kids, it gets them out."

The kids had the option of two games, either catching spiders with a fishing pole, or participating in the skeleton throw.

"We had plenty of room," Gissiner said. "We were able to do two games."

She was impressed with how well organized the event was this year.

"This year seemed to be more organized than last year," Gissiner said.

The one thing that stood out to her this year was the curtain that separated the different booths, as well as the table that was set up for the games and prizes.

"Every year there is more improvement with the setup," Gissiner said.

She intends to continue to participate in the Fall Festival every year.

"We will continue and every year we will try to think of a new theme," Gissiner said.

The Pine Island Teens Succeed, a group of the Beacon of H.O.P.E., also participated in the event by helping with the games.

Betsy Haesemeyer, executive director of Beacon of H.O.P.E., said it is always refreshing to see the youth participating in events and helping the community.

Skyler Burke, 13, was one of the Pine Island Teens Succeed members who helped with the games Saturday.

"It's something to do on the weekend and then have a pizza party," the 8th grade student said.

Burke said so far they have gone on a hike and provided a helping hand at the Fall Festival.

"It's interesting because of the stuff that they do," he said of the group for teens.

Burman said the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island could not have put on the festival without the community's help. She said Lazy Flamingo provided the hot dogs for the event, the Frank Valcarcel family provided the sound system, Stonegate Bank provided the fortune telling and Joan and Phil Rosenburg donated all the material for the spooky photos.

In addition, the Boy Scouts watched the bounce houses outside to make sure everyone was safe and the Pine Island Youth Group donated time to make the popcorn for the youngsters.

"I would like to thank Meghan McCoy of the Pine Island Eagle for covering and supporting the Pine Island Festival," Burman said.

The Fall Festival, which has taken place for more than 25 years, brings the community together every year to provide the youngsters with a couple hours of fun, organizers said.



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