In a move that has Wilton children shouting in unison and jumping for joy, Miller-Driscoll School will be staging a true carnival with rides, games and attractions for all ages on April 4-6. The carnival will be an outdoor event on school grounds at the south end of the school.

Open to the community at large, the First Annual “Spring Spectacular Carnival” replaces what was formerly known as the “Winter Carnival.” That event was an indoor program, with booths and games that relied heavily on parent volunteers. Although a lot of fun for the children, the hours and manpower it required did not yield the fundraising dollars the PTA hoped for and therefore a decision to change it was made this year.

Miller-Driscoll principal Cheryl Jensen-Gerner said the change is a welcome one, and something she knows the kids–and even parents–will look forward to.

“Every year the PTA takes a little different viewpoint on things, with a different body of people, they say, ‘Maybe we can make this more fun, we can change it up a little or make it more exciting.’ I think it’s nice that they have a fresh look and I applaud their efforts for trying to think differently and to think of what’s important to children.”

She said a real carnival, despite the logistics and complicated planning required, will be something great for her most important audience–kids. “Every year we try not to put up roadblocks for why you can’t do things. I don’t worry about the funding part of things, like the PTA/parent point of view. I feel that whatever we have, we have. I look at it less like a fundraiser. When the original carnival started, the whole purpose was to bring fun to kids, to give them a nice, exciting activity, something to look forward too. Winter’s over, celebrate spring, that sort of thing. I think at this age, you want to have fun, exciting things for kids.”

She added that it’s a great thing for the wider community. Given that it’s something that will be visible from the road and better able to serve a larger number of people, it’s more likely that this carnival will attract greater numbers than the older indoor one did.

Jensen-Gerner also acknowledged that it’s something positive associated with the school in a year when the school has faced  been increased scrutiny–likely referring to indoor air quality questions and some parents who balked at the full-day kindergarten plan implemented last year.

“Honestly, Miller-Driscoll has been under the microscope for other things this year, it’s really nice to have something fun and energizing, especially for kids and parents to come together around something so fun.”

Students have been involved in the planning as well, with a naming contest that took place earlier this year. The winner, second grader Cameron Royle, officially named the event “Miller-Driscoll Spring Spectacular.” Students have also tapped into their creativity to draw posters for the carnival.

Any money raised from the carnival, like all PTA funds, help provide Miller-Driscoll students with enrichment programs, new library books, fine arts programming, educational workshops, class celebrations and much more. The fundraising also supports teachers and administration by fulfilling grant requests and providing the school with materials not normally available to them.

As a PTA program, the carnival has received strong support from several community organizations and businesses.  Blue Star Bazaar and Moments by Andrea Photography are the Gold Sponsors of the event; Silver Sponsors include Realty Seven, Bankwell, Halstead Properties, Peachwave Yogurt,Hoffman Landscapes, GOOD Morning Wilton, The Untangled Life and HamletHub.  The Wilton Kiwanis Club will provide all of the food during the carnival including hot dogs, hamburgers and fried dough.

Andrea Topalian, a M-D parent as well as a Wilton business owner, was eager to have her photography business sponsor the carnival. “Wilton is an amazing community and I’m so happy to be raising my family here. A carnival on the Miller-Driscoll grounds is sure to be a huge draw, and will give the wider Wilton community a great way for families to connect and create memories–something that is exactly what Moments by Andrea is all about.”

Bill Brennan, Wilton First Selectman, will be on hand on the evening of Friday, April 4 to kick off the festivities, inaugurating the event by taking the first spin on his favorite ride and eating the first hot dog.

Information on pre-sale wristbands will be available at each Wilton school in the weeks leading up to the event. Additionally, the PTA will hold a pre-sale night at Peachwave Yogurt on March 31 from 3-8 p.m.. A portion of frozen yogurt sales from that evening will be contributed to the Miller-Driscoll PTA.

 The carnival will be open Friday, April 4 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, April 5 12-9 p.m.; and Sunday, April 6 12-5 p.m.

Editor’s Note:  GOOD Morning Wilton is excited to be a media sponsor of this event. This article was not part of any trade or agreement and all editorial coverage is separate from any sponsorship arrangement.