Peninsula School Hosts Spring Fair

2 mins read

On Sunday, Peninsula School hosted its annual Spring Fair, which occurs on the first Sunday of May and runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair provides an opportunity for alumni of the K-8 school to visit their former campus—a sprawling, century-old mansion in Menlo Oaks—and for newcomers to connect with their community.  With free admission, the fair hosts a smörgåsbord of activities, including face painting, food trucks, a climbing wall, a bake sale, a zip line, and live music.

Alum and Peninsula employee Betty Henley, whose children also attended Peninsula, outlined the rich history of the Spring Fair, which has been going on for several decades now. She said,  “A lot of the fair elements are built with wood, which makes it easy for the organizers to disassemble and create new pieces each year.”

Henley said, “The fair helps prospective families see what a more progressive school might look like.” She explained that a part of Peninsula’s culture is letting kids explore free of constraints and said, “An example of something unusual that happens here: it rains and rains, and the big puddle over there gets really muddy, and the kids just jump in.” Another infamous hallmark of Peninsula is that students are able to run around campus without shoes on.

Some fair vendors are kids, often students of Peninsula themselves. Aided by their teachers, they spend a month planning, organizing, and executing various booths.

Music is provided by both outside bands and students, with each grade having a band. These bands perform at different school events throughout the year, and for the 8th graders at Peninsula, the fair is their last performance before graduation.

Peninsula staff and alumni also run tables, selling baked goods or overseeing go-kart races. Community member and baker Jamie, who has two grandsons at Peninsula, helped set up the bake sale. She said, “This is my second year baking for the fair. I just moved down here a year ago, and it’s nice to connect with the community and raise money for Peninsula.” She described it as a “lovely affair” and advised me to just wander around and enjoy the sunshine with one of her lemon bars.

Vendors Eric and Brooke Beans showed off their air powered rocket launcher that they built out of PVC pipes under high pressure (around 80 psi). Eric says he and his wife took over the stand for the first time this year, and had to rely on YouTube tutorials. “But in the end,” Eric said, “we figured it out and built a bunch of extra attachments to make it a little bit extra special.” These attachments included a double launcher, which was made possible with cornstarch. Beans spent the last four years attending the fair and took over in order to continue the “longstanding tradition of rocket launchers at Peninsula.”

Throughout the event, children played with chalk and crafted elaborate masterpieces that decorated the patio in bright colors to bring in spring. They declined to comment, but their shrieks of joy could be heard throughout campus. Overall, the fair provided a great place for the community to come together and connect with one another through music, crafts, and delicious baked goods.

Ellen is a senior at M-A and in her first year of journalism. She hopes to write about stories that highlight social issues within M-A’s community. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, swimming, and spending time with friends.

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