PYAC Carnival

Children play laser tag during last year's carnival.

PHILOMATH EXPRESS, FILE

The inflatables are coming.

The 10th annual Philomath Youth Activities Club's Community Kids Carnival will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Clemens Field.

"It started out as a very small, modest event in terms of money we raised and the number of people that attended," PYAC executive director Eddie Van Vlack said. "But the last few years (it's grown) ... I think last year was overall our second-best event ever."

Although there are various other activities, the carnival has become known for its inflatables. S&K Wacky Indoor Bounce owners Rick and Danielle Bennett play a big role in the event's fundraising success.

"It was Rick's idea to come up with the event 10 years ago and they've donated the inflatables every single year," Van Vlack said. "Obviously without those, there's no event."

Tickets are sold for access to the inflatables and games, and also for food (50 cents per ticket, games and attractions cost one to three tickets). Unlimited attraction wristbands are available for $20 each ($15 if purchased for five or more).

The carnival takes place rain or shine, however, it is moved from the football field inside to the Philomath High gymnasium if the weather does not cooperate.

Van Vlack said eight to 12 inflatables are typically set up at the carnival. The lineup of games includes things like sack races, egg races, bottle ring toss, disc golf throw and several others, including the popular bubble soccer.

"Probably the neatest part of the whole night other than just seeing the kids run around 900 miles per hour ... is when they go play those games," Van Vlack said. "They've got little prize cards that they get stamped depending on how well they do at the games and they come to a prize center and there's about 25 different prizes.

"At the end of the night, when we come over, we draw names for whichever prize it is," he added. "Those kids, the look on their face when they win, you'd think they won the lottery."

A silent auction will also be staged with several items to bid on, including a Davey Cricket .22 rifle donated by the local gun club, various getaway trips, Oregon State football tickets and much more.

Van Vlack estimated the number of sponsors this year at around 30.

"Probably the most growth in the fundraiser has been in the community support in terms of sponsorship," Van Vlack said. "Anytime you do a special event, you've got to get an event that kids enjoy and have fun with, but to make money, you've got to get the businesses to understand the value of it."

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