Hay isn’t just for horses.
Dixon Primary School arranged 5,000 bales of the stuff to make mazes, a hay slide, tractor ride, cozy coffee shop seating and more at the fourth annual Haystackular, open weekends until November 17 off Highway 90 in Pace.
Kids pulled parents through the towering hay maze, raced through the mini maze, plowed through the Corn Crawl, and launched rubber balls in a game called Irate Buzzards—a life-sized version of Angry Birds.
Five-year-old Ava Hart had lots of answers when asked about her favorite activity.
“The hay over there, and the flag bouncy house over there,” she smiled. “I like it here!”
Her mother, Autumn, agreed.
“I think that it’s reasonably priced, and there’s stuff for all ages of kids,” she said.
Haystackular may be all fun and games, but it’s fun for a purpose: it is S.S. Dixon Primary’s only fundraiser. Parents were tired of selling tubs of cookie dough, so the school’s principal, Mrs. Anderson, worked with teachers and the PTO to find a new way, explained Tanya Westerkom, the coordinator for Haystackular 2013.
“Hay is our biggest expense!” Westerkom said. The first two weekends Haystackular is open, proceeds go toward paying for the hay, which is purchased from a local farmer. The next three weekends, all proceeds go straight to the school. The fundraiser has brought wireless internet, iPads, and iPad Minis to each classroom, she said.
But it’s done more for the school than just bring in the bacon. Every school tries to get parents involved, Westercom said, and Haystackular is run by parent volunteers. Teachers also put in a lot of time and effort. It adds up to fun for the entire family. Dads especially get really into the trebuchet catapult. Besides that, there are zip lines and a miniature golf course designed by Westerkom’s teenaged son.
And while Haystackular is only open to the public on weekends, it’s hosting class fieldtrips all week long.
“Once we’re open, we’re open every day,” Westercom said. “We’ve had all different types of classes come through.” They see independent preschools, Escambia schools, even Arc classes.
Upcoming weekends host different charities, bands and movies, even a Little Miss Haystackular contest November 9. Admission of $5 includes entrance to the hay mazes and corn box. Extra activities and concessions require tickets, available for purchase at the ticket booth. Credit cards are accepted. For more information on the Little Miss Haystackular contest and a registration form, go to www.dixonprimarypto.com/Home.html. Haystackular is open to the public Fridays 4-9pm, Saturdays 12-9pm, and Sundays 12-6pm.