For me, it was always one of the highlights of elementary academics. Field trips and musical recitals were fine, but the fall festival had something all its own. Maybe because there wasn’t another time of the school year when you could walk in a circle for five minutes and get a cake. Or toss a football through cardboard goal posts to get a prize.
With today’s more interactive educational approach, I wonder if the fall festival still holds the same appeal for students. Back in the days of Gilbertsville Elementary School, there weren’t a whole lot of programs or presentations. There were no Wulfe Brothers, no trick bicycle riders. No appreciation days. School was just school.
Of course, there weren’t any students with iPhones or PDAs, either.
Back then, you went to class in the morning, had lunch, back to class, then went home. They even sprinkled in a few recesses (which, unfortunately seem to be going the way of realistic grading formats) to let the kids run off the excess energy. That was also before the plethora of pharmaceuticals aimed at suppressing all the biological tendencies that make an eight year old act like an eight year old.
Once a year, or twice if you were really lucky, you took a field trip. Land Between the Lakes was the site of quite a few GES trips, as the 170,000 acres was enough room to let a few dozen children run around.
Hopefully, despite the rise of regular assemblies and special presentations, the more traditional traditions don’t seem too... traditional. The events helped serve as fundraisers and provided something different for the students to do outside of the classroom. Students sometimes even wore costumes, which seems to be an act so heinous that its being phased out little by little in more and more school districts each year.
Benton, Calvert, Central and South Marshall elementarties all have fall festivals planned this month. South kicked things off last Friday with theirs. Central will hold its fall festival this Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Calvert will hold its fall festival Oct. 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while Benton will be the following night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Go out, support your local school (maybe even your not-so-local school). You might even win a cake.