Chinook children's carnival open for everyone

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— On June 4 parents from across Vancouver are invited to Chinook Elementary School for games, bounce houses, barbecue and prizes at one of the biggest school carnivals in Clark County.

The spring carnival at the school, to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, is one of about 30 programs and events put on by the Chinook Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), which has increasingly augmented insufficient government funding for after-school programs and events.

"When you start cutting programs so drastically that it's hurting their education it's going to hurt the state and all of us," said Lee Fontaine, association president.

Bracelets for unlimited bounce house time and carnival games cost $18 if purchased in advance at the elementary school or $20 the day of the event. There is also no parking fee.

A Cake Walk

One of the carnival favorites is the cake walk: musical chairs with, you guessed it, cake. Children circle a large table ringed with home-baked sweets equal to the number of arrayed seats. When the music stops, those with chairs to sit on win whichever cakes are in front of them.

Those without a chair needn't worry. The PTSA also runs a single-serving bake sale at the carnival, where most items cost between 50 cents and $1.

There will be other carnival staples like fishing, ring tosses, dance pads and face painting. Fontaine says the association worries about having too many sweets, so the prizes for the game will include food vouchers from local businesses, toy airplanes, stickers and other small-scale entertainment.

For $3.50, attendees can also buy chips, soda, water and a hot dog or hamburger from Clark County firefighters running a barbecue.

The event costs the association approximately $6,000 to put on. It has declined to merge the event with other schools or parent groups, but anyone is welcome to attend.

The association already culls volunteers and donations from Kohl's, Fred Meyer, Skyview High School, Cub Scouts and Clark County Fire District 6. To volunteer, email carnival@chinookpta.com.