Four Henderson High School students, Andrew Russell, Rebecca Willett, Emily Hall and Kevin Byrne, were the creative force behind the 4th Annual Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation Fall Carnival held at the 9th Street Youth and Community Center in Chester, PA on Saturday, October 26th. Blessed by a gorgeous, sunny day, although a bit breezy and just slightly chilly, the seniors were able to draw over 75 volunteers to put on the free carnival. Over 500 Chester residents enjoyed the event, geared towards K-5th graders, and everyone had a fantastic time.
One Chester dad, commented about the sense of peace he felt was at the event. He told the organizers that it was one of the first times he was able to go outside with his young children to enjoy a community event without any disruption or commotion. Instead, he told us that the event felt very “neighborly”. And that was the whole intent of the day.
The caravan from West Chester arrived at 11:30am and brought with them 500 pumpkins, a stage, two outdoor grills, 2,500 used books, tables, chairs, 500 treat bags, paint, posters, 60 hay bales, 30 corn stalks, and a great amount of food. The kids worked together to first rake, clean up and then decorate two adjoining parking lots at the 9th Street Community Center. Then the volunteers split up into different groups to set up: a stage, a used book display, two inflatable sports centers, pumpkin painting, face painting, dozens of carnival games, a welcome desk, the stage, all the food and drinks, and also had a crew who stuffed 500 treat bags with an apple and Halloween candy for each child who attended.
By 1:00pm the children began to arrive; some even in costume! Everyone from Chester was greeted with a warm welcome and then encouraged to make the most of the day by partaking in all that the carnival had to offer. Most children immediately picked out a pumpkin and painted it, had their own face painted, filled their treat bag with some new books, and then got involved in the carnival games.
The Henderson Dance Team entertained the crowd on several occasions with their enthusiasm and coordinated dance moves. They stopped the crowd and drew lots of attention with every performance. Just after their final show, the crowd got out and joined them and everyone was dancing together! Kevin Byrne’s jazz band also performed for the crowd and their talent was appreciated by everyone there. Freckles the Clown and Friends was there too, entertaining the kids with beautifully and uniquely created balloon figures.
The Carnival was a great success, not only because of the support the Foundation received from Henderson High School volunteers, but this year, Christ Community Church and West Chester University also sent a group of volunteers who added creativity and depth to our offering. One Chester little girl told a West Chester University volunteer that the Carnival made October 26th the best day of her life! What a privilege to serve there.
9th Street Youth and Community Center
Krapf Bus Company
Christ Community Church
The Henderson Community
Henderson Dance Team
East Bradford Elementary Physical Education
East Bradford Elementary PTO
The Kramp Family
The Chammas Family
Emma Shannon and the Downingtown East High School Community
Giant Food Stores
Philly Soft Pretzel Factors