Creating a sense of community is what Crane Country Day School is all about, and this weekend is no exception, when Crane hosts both its annual Country Fair and new alumni events to mark the school’s 85th anniversary this year.
The Crane Country Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 on the fields of Crane’s campus, 1795 San Leandro Lane in Montecito. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Country Fair, the school’s 19th consecutive fair, will focus on a country farm theme this year instead of the Halloween theme of years past. In addition to the traditional favorite fair events, a new highlight will be a show by the Ojai Raptor Center at 1:30 p.m. In addition to rehabilitating injured birds, the raptor center runs a wildlife education program in which eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures who are unable to be released into the wild serve as ambassadors for their species by visiting schools.
“The Country Fair is my favorite event at Crane,” said Ali Oshinsky, who is co-chairing the fair with two other Crane moms, Tiffany Gordon and Darcie McKnight. “It shows the best of Crane — everyone pitches in and works together to make it happen.”
The fair will also feature live entertainment, food by Big Daddy’s BBQ, where Crane dads serve hamburgers, hot dogs and salads, an old-fashioned photo booth, a bungee-cord bounce house, a giant slide, and an area created just for toddlers called “Coyote Cub Corner.” Other fun activities include a lollipop toss, sponge toss, football throw, petting zoo and glitter tattoos. Tickets for these attractions and more can be purchased at the fair.
“The fair really personifies the spirit of the school,” Head of School Joel Weiss said. “We like to have fun here and we enjoy being together as a community, but we also like to work hard. And this wonderful day could not happen without the hard work and dedication of practically every family at the school.”
About 150 volunteers work to make the event a success, including some younger alumni who return to Crane to earn community service credits for high school.
To mark the school’s 85th anniversary, Crane alumni will return to campus from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday for an All-Years Reunion. Activities include a soccer game with the younger alums starting at 4 p.m. During the game, about 20 laptop computers will be set up so alumni can view DVDs of old Crane performances, such as plays and musicals. Crane music teacher Toni Mackie has collected these DVDs of performances since she started at the school in 1985. At 5 p.m., a taco dinner will be served.
“We’ve had reunions in spurts in the past, but it was never a consistent thing,” said Debbie Williams, Crane’s admission and development director. “So we decided it would be really fun to do something in conjunction with our 85th anniversary. We’re trying to cultivate relationships and get some momentum going. We have three reunions on Friday night: 60s decade, 80s decade and the 20th reunion for the class of 1992.”
In addition, Williams is working on creating a sense of connection between current students and alumni. For example, for the past seven years, Williams and the third-grade students have baked cookies together and sent them to the Crane alumni who are college freshmen.
“This has been a highly successful and tasty way to reach out to alumni,” Williams said.
Click here for more information about the Crane Country Fair or alumni events.
— Julia Rodgers is a Crane Country Day School parent.