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Going Back in Time- PTA Hosts Annual Dime Carnival

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By Abby Sonnenberg, ECS Student Reporter

This is investigative journalist Abby Sonnenberg reporting on the scene, where a mystery unfolds at Ellicottville Central School. On Friday the 13th (of April), the school’s gym and high school cafeteria seemed to have travelled back in time for a night.

Everyone there called it a “dime carnival,” an aptly named event – kids and parents alike exchanged their dimes for game tickets or tried to throw them into different cups or bowls, getting food and playing a strange version of musical chairs in which the winner received a baked good of some sort. A bounce house was inflated and used in the gym and classic songs from the 1960s were played.

Since nobody else seemed to be concerned about the idea that our school had jumped 60 years into the past, I decided everything must be safe. I even discovered something the kids called a “basket raffle,” where small plastic Tupperware containers were set in front of different prizes. Holes were cut in the lids and kids would stuff their tickets inside, hoping to have theirs chosen so that they might win the prizes inside.

I saw smiles all around, but I still didn’t understand why. Did nobody else find this unprecedented time travelling phenomenon unsettling? Impossible.

This wasn’t an issue that I could let go, so instead I asked around. “I’m having a really great time,” said fifth grader Courtney Marsh, though she couldn’t quite elaborate.

Ryan Metzger, another fifth grader at ECS, told me, “I’m having a lot of fun!” When I asked both of them for details as to why, they said the games to play were a lot of fun and the food was delightful.

The concept of time travel can be slightly daunting to our town’s young minds, however. After that, I went to Blair Wood, a teacher at the school. He was able to give me more information, saying, “We love the dime carnival, the kids have a blast and my wife loves the popcorn! There’s no better night, really.”

Seeing how much everyone loved the dime carnival, I knew that I had to meet the mastermind between this whole scheme. I traced it back to Diana Olson, who I’ve been told coordinates this event, a PTA fundraiser, every year. The idea that jumping back in time like this was not a singular occurrence, but in fact an annual one, was something I found mind-boggling, so I know I had to get her thoughts on it.

“The dime carnival went very well,” she told me. “It was a success. We had lots of little kids here and there was face painting, dime pitch, the cake walk, and a bounce house. I think there were some people that didn’t come because of the nice weather; it was the first nice day that we had in months. A lot of kids won baskets from the Chinese auction and we had pizza from North Street Brick and Brew.”

The information she gave me raised even more questions. The way she spoke of the dime carnival suggested no hint of time travel, just a school-coordinated event. I wasn’t aware that the organizers of this whole thing could play it off so well, but as the event drew to a close, I began to see the façade fall.

There was no time travelling at all, in fact, just a series of games fueled by dimes and music from the 60s playing overhead. Despite this discovery, the magic of it all still has yet to fade. Hopefully the dime carnival will make its return next year so this reporter can attend without any fantastical ideas of time travel and just enjoy the event.

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