Children plucked sticky gobs of cotton candy from plastic bags, threw baseballs at dunking booths and walked hand in hand with parents while displaying wide-eyed grins.
A fall carnival atmosphere filled Columbia County schools on Saturday.
Volunteer Lisa Partain sells pumpkins at the Brookwood Elementary School Fall Carnival. Saturday's event included food and games.
Photo by Preston Sparks
''The best thing about this is seeing the children smiling and having fun," said Mary Jo Sessum, a chairwoman for the carnival at Evans Elementary School.
The fall carnival at Evans was one of two Saturday - the other was at Brookwood Elementary School.
''We've had a great turnout," said Barbara Gleitsmann, assistant principal at Brookwood. ''We've really had a lot of spirit here. It's good to see, and I think there's some real healing going on."
At Evans, events included pony rides, ring tosses, dunking booths and a stand where children could have their caricatures drawn. More than 100 people volunteered at Evans, and about 300 people were expected to attend. Brookwood had a similar turnout.
''Our dunking booth is a big draw this year because our principal is getting in it," Sessum said with a sly smile.
Haley Brown, 10, had her own favorites.
''The horses," she said, pointing to the attraction. ''And that one you get a toy in."
Keri Tedesco, who brought Haley and four other children to the event, said it was a good outing for children after the scares from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
''They're at school, and they're actually having fun," she said.
Part of the fun involved lining up at concession stands for cotton candy and the biggest seller of the day: ''The Cokes," Laura Cartledge said as she handed one to a customer. ''I think it's the heat."
At Brookwood, the enticing aroma of roasting peanuts and cotton candy drew lines.
''Get your peanuts here!" a boy exclaimed from a megaphone as he maneuvered through the crowd.
Nearby, children drew faces on pumpkins. That's where 7-year-old Katherine LaMantia was.
''I like this the best," she said as she created a mouth with a black marker.
Her mother, Tara LaMantia, said it was nice to see things returning to normal.
''The faster we do that, the better off we are," she said.
As she spoke, a group of children stood in line at the nearby dunking booth.
With each splash, the children jumped up and down, squealing with joy.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.