Skip to main content

The City Journals

Parkside Elementary may have introduced new tradition: Foam Fest

Oct 21, 2019 03:43PM ● By Julie Slama

Parkside families came together during the school’s Foam Fest. (Photo courtesy of Erik Fetzer)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Parkside first-grader Daphny Woodward returned to school Sept. 16 evening.

It wasn’t because she forgot her homework, but rather to bounce on the inflatable bounce house and play in the foam.

“I liked the bubbles; it was super fun,” she said. “I was with my friends and we would bounce in the house and try to catch them to play with them.”

It was Parkside’s Foam Fest, an idea PTA President Cheree Larson introduced instead of the usual fall carnival.

“We wanted to keep it really simple and there is so much work involved with a carnival,” she said. “This way, we were able to keep it free and make it a big community event.”

Years prior, Parkside had rented a foam machine for a carnival, but instead of looking into doing it again, Larson turned to her neighbor, Erik Fetzer, with the idea. In three days, Fetzer built a foam machine so it only cost the school PTA soap to create the bubbles.

“I had seen a foam race so I thought we’d do that, make it so students could run through the foam, jump through some tires and take part in the obstacle inflatables as the course. But right at the start, I lost the little kids. They got into the foam and just wanted to play. But that was the point. The race may have been a flop, but the foam wasn’t,” she said.

Even the parents and grandparents got into it – literally – as the winds that evening blew bubbles into those cheering on the sidelines.

“Gusts of wind came and blew the bubbles all over everyone. There was yelling and screaming, but a lot of fun and it was a good way for families to mix with others. We have a lot of new students and families moving into the neighborhood so it’s just a fun way to get to meet each other,” Larson said.

Julia Southwick brought her child and a friend to the event.

“There were massive amounts of foam blowing in the wind,” she said. “There were bubbles flying everywhere; the kids were loving it. It was fun, kids were running around and playing. Families were bonding and it was just brilliant.”

Some students continued to jump on the inflatables – bounce houses and obstacle courses with slides — even after the foam machine was turned off for the night.

“I liked it because it was fun and I could jump around and be with friends,” sixth-grader Ivana Flores said.

Her classmate, Daija Campbell, added, “I liked going down the slides and bouncing with friends.”

Parkside Principal Brian Dawes said that everyone seemed to be pleased with the event.

“There were lots and lots of smiles and happy families,” he said. “It was created to be a fun, community event where kids of all levels could have fun, doing what they enjoyed. Families have asked for us to do it again so we may have just created a new tradition.”