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Set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2012, at Fairytale Town (3901 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento), the community will "win" as families will be able to enjoy games, activities, live entertainment, sports demonstrations, healthy food offerings and more at Sacramento's magical amusement venue. Nonprofits also stand to win thanks to funds raised through ticket and vendor sales.
Amanda Merz, the league's fundraising chair, is hoping the festival's lineup and the projected good weather results in huge crowds as the depressed economy has negatively impacted donations during the 2011-12 season.
"We've been hit by the economy for sure," said Merz, "but our members have really rallied around the organization."
Merz said the group's members – 200 of which are considered "active" – have put their minds toward working more aggressively to plan and execute events that the community wants to attend and support.
This year's Family Fun Fest theme, "Carnivale: A Magical Evening in the Park," will feature live music and dance performances (including local cover band The Mixx), sports demonstrations (Imani Fencing Foundation), games and activities such as face painting, and nutritious alternatives to traditional, deep-fried carnival fare.
"There will be turkey burgers, fresh fruit, macaroni salad, Johnsonville Sausage, as well as regular burgers and hot dogs," said Merz.
In addition, beer and wine are available for adult tastes, and a series of raffle drawings will be held, including an opportunity to win four Disneyland Resort One-Day Park Hopper tickets.
"The Junior League started Fairytale Town, so we always enjoy going back there for our annual fundraising event," Merz said. "This year, we've put a new spin on it that focuses on nutrition – adding three new areas to our focus: a food pyramid race; five stations where kids will be challenged by questions and exercises; and a carnival-style activity. We're trying to keep the event as close to our mission, as well as keeping it fun."
Festivities will include the finals of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento Cook-Off Competition, in which area children will put their best food forward in hopes of wowing a quartet of celebrity judges: Chef Stu Edgcombe of Plates Café and Catering; Andrew Blaskovich, owner/chef of Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen; Christine Collins, owner of Dad's Kitchen; and, in keeping with the event's venue, "Princess" Kimberly (Peterson), manager of Once Upon a Princess.
"Our 'Kids in the Kitchen' program has been a year-long process," said Merz. "We've been going to Boys & GIrls Club classes and showing them how to make nutritional snacks at home – things like whole-wheat pizzas, veggies, lower-fat cheeses."
For the finals, Merz said the kids will be making parfaits (6-8 age group), English muffin pizzas (8-12 age group), and egg dishes (over-13 age group).
While geared to providing a family friendly party for the entire Sacramento area. Merz said the festival also offers a chance for Junior Leaguers to participate with their own kids.
"We love this event," she said. "We don't always get to have our families present at our events, but the Family Fun Fest provides an opportunity for our members to enjoy the day with their families, when they can come together with their children."
This year, Merz said the league is hoping to raise $13,000, and see attendance break the 700 mark, a significant increase over last year's 300. In addition to admission tickets and vendor sales, she said they're banking on big raffle sales.
"The raffle tickets will be $1, and will include various prizes that have been donated by the community, including tickets to ComedySportz Sacramento and the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center." said Merz. "We will also be having a grand-prize drawing for a family four-pack of Disneyland One-Day Park Hopper tickets. Raffle tickets for this grand prize will be $15 each or 10 tickets for $100.
"This is our final hurrah for the season – it's got to be big."
Admission to the Family Fun Fest event cost $10 for those 13 and older, and $5 for children 3 to 12. Those 2 and younger will be admitted free of charge.
Family Fun Fest Entertainment Schedule
5:30 to 6:15 p.m. – The Mixx performs (local family-friendly cover band)
6:15 to 6:25 p.m. – Welcome remarks and introductions
6:25 to 6:45 p.m. – Deanne’s Dance Studio performance
6:45 to 7 p.m. – Move Studios dance performance
7 to 7:15 p.m. – Top Hat Trio dance studio performance
7:15 to 7:30 p.m. – Imani Fencing Foundation fencing demonstration
7:30 to 7:35 p.m. – Cook-Off Competition winners announced
7:35 to 8:30 p.m. – The Mixx performs
(Image by: Junior League of Sacramento)