WATSONVILLE — Walking into the administration building’s waiting area at Ann Soldo Elementary School during October, one can expect to be welcomed by an assortment of ghouls, witches and other creepy creatures. The main desk is littered with potion bottles and skeletons. The ceiling is thick with multi-colored spiderwebs.
“We’ve definitely gone all-out this year,” one staff member joked as she passed through the room on the way to a meeting. “We’ve got spirit!”
This is not the first year the school has embraced the popular autumn celebration so enthusiastically. It’s been a tradition for a long time, and has included holding the annual Fall Festival for the past few years.
This Friday from 5–7 p.m., Ann Soldo Elementary will host this year’s Fall Festival. The fundraiser is open to the community and will include a barbecue, silent auction, games, dancing and more.
“It’s an event that really brings people together,” art teacher Jane Ferguson said. “Families with kids from our school will invite other friends and their families. It’s just a fun community gathering.”
Ferguson has been busy creating a special photo booth in her classroom for the festival, as well as aiding students in creating autumn-themed art pieces and displaying them throughout the school, along with other Ann Soldo teachers.
The art includes everything from a gallery of cave painting-inspired works in the administration building to a group of paper skeletons hanging from the ceiling of one particular classroom.
According to Ferguson, art is extremely important at Ann Soldo, as they believe it can help children to express themselves and learn in a different way. Some of their students have won art awards at the Santa Cruz County Fair and even had their work displayed at prominent places such as the mayor’s office.
“Some of these kids really go above and beyond,” she said. “I’m consistently impressed at what they’re able to create.”
Because of this, Ferguson and other teachers at Ann Soldo try to make sure the art is front and center for public events such as the Fall Festival, which is a fundraiser supporting the school itself.
For this year’s festival, teachers and staff teamed up, each choosing a specific task/project to work on. A number of community members joined in on the planning and funding, and Driscoll’s of Watsonville continues to be its main sponsor.
“We’re really grateful to everyone for the support,” Ferguson said. “I think it’ll be another great year for this event.”
Ann Soldo Elementary School is located at 1140 Menasco Drive in Watsonville, behind the Vista Montana Apartments. For information about the upcoming festival, call 786-1310.