Frontier Elementary School held its first Fall Festival Friday and earned $5,000 doing it.
"What I loved most," said Principal Sue Myers, "is that everyone seemed to have such a good time -- the parents and the kids."
Myers said there was such a good turnout that those who provided food in the school's cafeteria -- pizza, hot dogs, chili and nachos -- ran out.
"They came as families," Myers said. "There was something for everyone to do and the parents loved visiting one another. You could see we really are a community."
A portion of the money raised, $2,400 from a silent auction featuring specialty baskets, will be spent on school supplies. The most expensive basket was auctioned off for $300 and included rounds of golf at the Rim Golf Club in east Payson. A basket of first-aid supplies was auctioned off for $25.
"The first-aid basket was a good deal," Myers said. "The items were worth about $50."
Baskets for chocolate lovers and health food enthusiasts were among the many other auction items. A red wagon full of toys went for $155. A Queensland heeler puppy, which came complete with doghouse, raised another $225 for the school.
"The other money will go for our number-one fund-raiser," Myers said, "grass in our field."
She said the school's site committee made the grass project a priority last year. Other money from cookie sales, yard sales and donations -- $3,000 from Kiwanis and $1,000 from Wal-Mart -- has provided the school with nearly all the money it needs for the $30,000 project. Labor will be provided by the community.
While parents continued to raise the bids on their favorite baskets Friday, children got their faces painted, played games, fished for prizes and participated in a cake walk. They visited a petting zoo and rode ponies. Wendell Stevens' agricultural class at the high school brought a Bassett hound, ducks, and a goat for the petting zoo and ponies for the rides.
The children got to climb onto a fire truck in the parking lot where they tried on the equipment and turned on the flashing red lights.
"The fire trucks were such a hit," Myers said. "Next year, we'll bring in a police car."
She credited FES kindergarten teacher Mimi Dailey with spearheading the fund-raiser. "The rest of us had no idea how much fun it would be," Myers said.
But the real fun, she said, will be planting the grass.
"We'll use sod, not seeds, and the children will think it's magic," she said.
She hesitated a moment and then changed her mind, "No, they won't. They've worked a long time for this."