PMA Family Fun Fest was a Festive Slam Dunk

September 26, 2014

by Tom Tollefson

Fall may have been three days away, but Presentation of Mary Academy celebrated early with their 19th annual Family Fun Fest on Saturday, September 20.  The event included all of the same festivities that the annual crowd of more than 5,000 has come to enjoy over the years.  Throughout the day, there were carnival games, bounce houses, face and pumpkin painting, a petting zoo for the children and raffles, a bake sale, penny sale, and craft sale for the adults.  The sunny weather also made it an enjoyable outing for everyone.

“It was very cold this morning, but the sun came out and it’s beautiful now.  It’s not too cold or too hot,” said PMA Parent Group President Chris Thompson.

While many of the same events and festivities remained, there were a few additions such as a slip and slide.  In addition, freshly smoked pulled pork and baked potatoes from The Prime Butcher in Windham were also new items on the food menu served at the festival.

All proceeds from the penny sale, bake sale and raffled baskets go to the parent group, which funds school field trips, enrichment activities, and special cost items.  The bake sale, craft sale, and penny sale items were all donated from parents, students and the community.  Every year, the event generates an average of $20,000 for the school.

PMA Principal Sister Maria Rosa played a big part in the fundraising this year with a project of her own.  PMA raised $1,100 to get her into the dunk tank.  The money will go towards the state-of-the-art gym the school is planning to build.  She sat over the tank as dozens of her students lined up to throw a ball at the lever to release her into the water.  The PMA principal stated that her efforts were all for the children after ending up in the water.  Seven other PMA staff and parents volunteered time to the dunk tank as well.

“You won’t see many principals going this far to help their schools in this country today,” said Mary Ellen Martin, grandparent of a PMA student.

Another major attraction for the day was a ventriloquist show by PMA parent Al Getler, who has been performing professionally for over 30 years.

Getler became interested in ventriloquist performance at age 8 while watching New York City television after school.  “I was curious about it and went to the library and taught myself how to do it,” he explained.

While everyone enjoyed the entertainment and games outside, the raffles and sales were held inside the school’s gym and cafeteria.  The Penny Sale featured more than 200 items that would be awarded to lucky ticket holders in a drawing.  All tickets for the drawing cost a penny each.  The items included toys and games for the children and kitchen items and household goods for adults, along with gift cards and themed baskets for both.  The themes included the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Xbox, and a fitness-themed basket to name a few.

“There are lots of good gift certificates and prizes.  There is something for everybody young and old,” said Adrianne Liggett, whose daughter had been a student at PMA for nine years.  Liggett is one of many parents of PMA alumni who return every year.  Many of these parents still volunteer to run the event as well.

Many of those in attendance cited the variety in the selection of activities as being one of the reasons for returning every year to the PMA Fun Fest.

“It’s a great family event,” said Kathy O’Keefe, mother of two PMA students.  “There is something for everyone.  It raises money for the school, (and) you get to see Sister Maria in the dunk tank.”

Big things are expected for next year’s fall fest.  Thompson stated that it is too early to name specifics but knows the school will plan something new and extra special to celebrate the 20th annual year of the fall event.