Chickens Had Afros; Kids Had A Blast

Fall Festival features petting zoo, firemen, and a cakewalk

The petting zoo was a popular attraction at Payson Elementary School’s annual Fall Festival.

The petting zoo was a popular attraction at Payson Elementary School’s annual Fall Festival. Photo by Michele Nelson. |

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The music blared while children barely tall enough to reach an adult’s knees walked from numbered square to numbered square.

Suddenly — everything and everyone stopped.

“Alright, what number are you standing on?” asked first-grade teacher Marti Shipley.

A tiny girl jumped up and down in excitement.

After picking out her confection, she ran up to her mother who said, “You were out there for 20 minutes before you won!” before scooping her up for a kiss.

All over the playing courts and playing field of Payson Elementary School (PES), children and their parents wandered from station to station, playing carnival games.

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Attendees got some hands-on time with animals including goats and ferrets.

Out on the grass field, Jadee Rohner and her students had a petting zoo with animals from chickens, to goats, to horses.

The little ones flocked to see Heather Parks’ ferret Trick and Byron McCrary’s young chicken Disco.

“I named him that for his Afro,” said McCrary.

Disco is a Silkie with soft downy feathers and an Afro on top of his head.

Brylee Hall’s goats, Zeke and Zak, hammed it up for passersby while John Hughes and the rabbit Flop made the kids ooh and ahh over how soft he was.

PES had the festival set to end by 6:30, but with hot dogs, Scoops ice cream, cotton candy and lollipops, neither kids nor parents wanted to wrap up the fun.

As the sun set and the scheduled close time passed, the Payson Fire Department kept their ring toss station open.

First-grade teacher Leslie Reisdorf brought her tiny grandson to play. He valiantly tossed a ring, but it fell short.

Reisdorf’s grandson buried his head in her skirt as a fireman attempted to help him.

“He’s really shy,” said Reisdorf as the two wandered off to explore another adventure before the festival wrapped up.

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