Annual fundraiser helps students with extracurricular activities
“Both sides of the highway were full by 9:30 a.m.,” says Jan Van ’T Riet, a volunteer at the Crossroads Public School 11th annual Home, Garden and Craft Show. “There were too many people to put in the parking lot.”
It seems Niagara-on-the-Lake loves this annual fundraiser for the school, which is a good thing, since it’s the main way money is raised for programming beyond the curriculum, as well as for ukuleles, computer technology, and more.
Eighty-five vendors ranging from independent, home-based plant growers to roofing
companies, and truly almost everything in between are spread throughout the gym and several classrooms.
Miguel Mori’s booth is full of plants and flowers, representing Mori Gardens. “We’re celebrating our 45th year,” says the garden centre’s growth manager proudly. Mori says the event has seen “a nice range of the community.”
Levi Harper of the NOTL Sailing Club stands tall beside a landed Shark sailboat, promoting sailing lessons. Harper is the first-place Shark racer in Ontario, and the sailing school’s top instructor says the club’s Donna Genge, director of the Learn to Sail program.
Waste management interns Istafan Sufi and Meghan Vidakovic represent Niagara Region waste management with two tables replete with organics bins, brochures and other paraphernalia. “Our table was a lot fuller at the beginning of the show,” says Sufi. He says visitors are most interested in learning more about the organics program, and also often ask, “Where does this go,” about different pieces of waste.
At the bake table, Kara-Lee Carson-Simpson — a parent of students at the school, and a volunteer — says, “It was awesome, we did really good. It was a lot of fun.” All proceeds from the parent-made goods go directly to the school.
Volunteers are one of the main factors in the success of such a large event, and parent Joy Janzen is responsible for all of them. “Every one of the 120 volunteers showed up for their two-hour shift,” she says with both pride and relief.
Amy Rapone is the event’s “fearless leader,” according to Janzen, Rapone says, “It all went really smoothly — we’ve spent since July organizing it.” She says there were 1,700 patrons this year, up from last year’s count of 1,500. “I’m happy,” says the mother of two children at the school. “We had a great team. The teachers and principal were amazing.”
Ashley Dixon, who did the marketing and communication, as well as printing for the show, commented on the community aspect of the event: “I saw a lot of people talking in the hallways, people who hadn’t seen each other in a while.” She also wondered aloud what her step count on her fitness device would be for the very busy day.
Renae Stern, a Grade 7 student at the school, said she had a lot of fun volunteering all day, and helping out wherever she was needed. Another student volunteer, Grade 4’s Elizabeth Delorraine acted as a greeter at the gym doors all day, and loved every minute of it.