Friday, October 27, 2017
With the morning air now a bit more chilly and the nights coming a bit earlier, it can mean only one thing: Crane Country Day School’s annual Country Fair must be right around the corner.
Indeed, the fair will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, on Crane’s campus, 1795 San Leandro Lane.
Each year, Crane families, faculty, staff and students look forward to the fair’s arrival.
Not only does it offer guests a day of entertainment, amusement and food, it allows the Crane community to teach the Santa Barbara community more about the school’s approach to learning and education.
Of course, most children come for the games and grins, and there will be plenty of those with a field full of bounce houses, a dunk tank, dart throw, bungee run, sponge toss and human foosball.
Or, visitors can try their luck at the Cake Walk, have their faces painted and hair sprayed, dress up in fancy frocks at the photo booth, dote on cute barn babies at the petting zoo, or endeavor to win a sack race.
And, any country fair worth its salt has another draw — the food.
Whether you’re in the mood for a mouth-watering barbecued burger or healthy, gourmet fare from the Carpinteria-based Food Liaison, this Country Fair will offer those options and more.
Also enticing are the Crane Country Kitchen’s bevy of home-baked goods, sweets and savories, and fresh produce from local home gardens, including Crane’s own.
For Crane seventh-grader, Lulu Marsetti, however, the fair isn’t just about fun and food; it’s an opportunity for her to help out.
“Of course the fair is fun, but I also love the fair because I get to help build the haunted house,” she said. “We get to do everything: build the props, make a pathway, hang lights, we even distress the costumes.”
Under the guidance of Erika Sellin, Crane’s technical theater supervisor, Lulu and a cohort of her fellow students transform the school’s humble field house into a spooky scene that’s just creepy enough to delight the kids.
Lulu’s younger sister, Crane fifth-grader Silvie Marsetti, looks forward to the fair for her own reasons. “I especially like the giant slide and candy booth, but I’m more into DJ-ing. Being a DJ is the most fun,” she said.
Silvie will spend much of her day selecting and playing tunes for the Crane Cake Walk.
A budding musician herself (she takes guitar and ukulele lessons), Silvie already has a genre preference: “I like pop,” she said. “Imagine Dragons, Panic at the Disco, Top-40 radio stuff.”
Both Lulu and Silvie said one of their favorite aspects of the fair involves helping out.
The sisters have a role model in their dad, Bino Marsetti, the fair’s volunteer coordinator for the past few years. Marsetti ensures that a small army of parent volunteers keep the booths staffed throughout the day.
Volunteerism and philanthropy are part of Crane’s credo, and curriculum:
As part of their seventh- and eighth-grade years, Crane students take a class called service learning, where they examine local and global concerns and explore philanthropic paths to help address them.
Twice a year, all Upper Schoolers (grades six through eight) participate in a Day of Service.
“Not only is the Country Fair an opportunity for Crane to connect with and showcase for the outside community all that Crane has to offer, this year, it’s also an opportunity to show how our Crane students give back to the community at large,” said Susan McMillan, who, along with fellow Crane parent Missy Ryan, is co-chairing the event for the second consecutive year.
For the first time, Crane’s eighth-grade service learning class will host its own booth, designed to highlight the nonprofit projects they’ve selected.
Those include a food drive for the Unity Shoppe; volunteering at Head Start Preschool and Storyteller Children’s Center; sponsoring students in Luanda, Kenya; and fundraising for the Malala Fund, which supports girls’ access to education in Middle Eastern countries.
Participating eighth-graders have received a challenge grant. If they meet the challenge of selling 80 additional fair raffle tickets, they will earn an extra $1,900 to fund their chosen service projects.
The service learning booth will offer fairgoers a chance to lend a hand, too: helping pack dental kits for Direct Relief International.
The dental kits will be distributed to local schools with high poverty and homeless rates, as well as to after-school programs and local social-service organizations.
“The fair is a great representation of the strong sense of community we have at Crane,” said Ryan. “It’s small enough that the kids really can get to know everyone in the school.
"The fair and events like it allow for deeper connections as everyone gets to know each other better.”
And, as Lulu said, “The fair is just a wonderful day, where everyone can come together, hang out and have fun together.”
One more fair fact aimed at parents: A simplified, economical entertainment wristband. At $40 per kid (young or old), it will cover the entire day’s worth of amusement and activity, including all booths and games (everything but food).
Individual game and amusement tickets will also be available for purchase.
Crane School thanks the following local business sponsors for their patronage and support of this year’s Crane Country Fair: The Easter Team, Harvest Santa Barbara, Open Air Photobooth, Sol Wave Water.
— Elizabeth Karlsberg for Crane School.