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Crane Country Fair Promises Fun for the Whole Family

Old fashioned activities, delicious refreshments and Halloween Haunted House, Oct 30

Halloween will be celebrated a day early this year at the Crane Country Fair, an annual event that has provided fun for children of all ages for the last 17 years. This year promises to be no different, especially with the return of an all-time favorite: the Haunted House.

The Country Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 30 on Crane Country Day School’s 11-acre campus at 1795 San Leandro Lane in Montecito. Admission is free and the fair is open to the public, but tickets must be purchased to participate in the special events, raffle or booth activities. Tickets can be purchased at the fair.

Fairgoers should get ready for some fun and fright at the Haunted House, where Crane parents, faculty, students and alumni who are aspiring actors will be putting their talents to work.

“It’s going to be fun and scary,” said Ali Oshinsky, who is co-chairing the Country Fair with Darcie McKnight and Tiffany Gordon.

Like the Haunted House, all other booths, food and entertainment at the fair will be provided by members of the Crane community. With hundreds of volunteers, the fair is a group effort, with almost all parents volunteering in some way to make the fair a success.

“It’s a school-wide effort,” said Winifred Lender, president of Parents for Crane, the parent association. “Everyone comes together for a day of old-fashioned fun.”

This year, the food booths will be Big Daddy’s Barbecue, which will be manned by Crane dads, and Hilda’s Tacos, prepared by past Crane parents. Oshinsky and her husband, Geoff Friedman, will provide ice cream from their store, Sweet Alley, and lemons from the Crane families’ yards will be pressed for fresh-squeezed lemonade.

“We’re bringing it back home this year,” Oshinsky said. “Everything will be made by the Crane community.”

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In addition to the food, the Crane community will also provide the entertainment, including popular guitarist Joel Jamison and a group of women faculty members who play the ukulele.

Orange and black might be Halloween colors, but this year’s fair will be decidedly green — as in environmentally green. Crane has hired Green Project Consultants to set up recycling, compost and trash bins around the fair; they will then haul it away and hand sort it.

“I’m hoping a very large percentage of the fair waste can be kept out of a landfill this year,” said Oshinsky, especially since all the plates, forks, spoons, cups and even straws are made from materials that can be composted.

Oshinsky expects to redirect 80 percent to 90 percent of the waste into recyclable, reusable material.

One popular booth, the Country Kitchen, will be expanded.

“We’re going sweet and savory this year,” Oshinsky said.

A team of parents will be making 25 dozen handmade tamales to sell at the event, in addition to the usual treats of cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Those with a sweet tooth can also participate in the cakewalk, where dozens of cakes will be given away throughout the day.

Last year’s very popular Coyote Cub Corner is back, an area specially designed for children 5 and under to play. Older children will enjoy all the other booths, such as an obstacle course, arts and crafts, sponge toss, lollipop toss, a jailhouse, duck pond, goldfish bowls, dart toss and a hairspray booth. There will be four inflatable jumpers, including two sports themed ones. Adults will like the used book sale.

“We all look forward to our Country Fair each year because it has become such a community event; a ‘friend raiser’ rather than just another fundraiser,” said Debbie Williams, Crane’s director of admission and development. “It is a testament to this event that many of our current families first became acquainted with Crane by coming to the fair.”

— Julia Rodgers is a Noozhawk contributing writer and Crane Country Day School parent.

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