SOLEDAD — Rides, popcorn, cotton candy and more will be returning to Soledad this weekend as Butler Amusements takes over Frank Ledesma Elementary School.
From May 30 to June 2, the lawn at Frank Ledesma will be occupied by carnival attractions, thanks to the Soledad Education Foundation, a group of school leaders who got together beginning 25 years ago and have continued the nonprofit since.
This school year the Foundation was under the direction of President Jodie Massa.
“It started when there were a lot of budget cuts and they were taking away arts, music, field trips and that sort of things,” Massa said. “Initially we were all about replacing that. In recent years, we’ve been getting more money from the state and are in a good time right. Hopefully that will continue.”
The nonprofit has continued the fundraising efforts through the good times and bad because the group doesn’t know when the cuts will come. Before the fundraising took the form of the carnival, it was many different things, such as a fashion show, but found its home as a carnival.
Earlier this year the carnival had a setback due to the late rains. The ground was too saturated and the Foundation had to ask if the carnival had another date available for it to be rescheduled.
The money raised during the carnival goes back to the schools and students in the form of grants.
The grants can go to staff appreciation that can’t come from public funds, classroom supplies, retirement dinners, maintenance operations department, purchasing coffee for teachers and so on.
“The food booths are separate and can use the booths free of charge,” Massa added. “We can have up to 10 as long as they aren’t selling the same thing as Butler Amusements. We limit it to nonprofit organizations within Soledad that are connected to the school or students in some way.”
The carnival will open Thursday at 4 p.m. and close at 9 p.m., reopening Friday from 4 to 11 p.m. On Saturday, the carnival will be open for a full 12 hours, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday wraps up the carnival beginning at noon and closing at 9 p.m.
“The ride wrists bands are available at the schools,” Massa said. “Once the carnival is open, you have to buy them inside the carnival.”
Currently the Soledad Education Foundation meets once a month during the school year at the district office at Metz Road and is open to members.