Wayzata church transforms to big top for a day

From the outside, Wayzata Community Church looked completely normal March 2. But once inside, the telltale signs of something different going on were everywhere.

There was a bowling alley set up, two bouncy houses (one toddler size, one normal size), the youngest visitors were fishing and there was a (temporary) tattoo parlor set up in Mithun Hall.

Either this was the most extreme example of “when the cat’s away” or it was simply time for the Nursery School Family Carnival.

Like many things that date back a number of years, nobody is exactly sure just how far back the carnival goes. The school itself dates back to 1955, and while the carnival doesn’t go that far back, organizers have notes that are at least 15 years old.

One thing that is known is that each year it gets a little bigger.

The carnival, which is held every other year, serves as the school’s largest fundraising event, with proceeds going to a number of projects within the school.

“The money goes for equipment for the school, classroom wish lists, things like that,” Sara Luedke, the school’s director said. “Last year it went for renovating the playground.”

With that much riding on the carnival being a success, the planning is not taken lightly.

Planning begins at the beginning of the school year. By late fall committees have been formed. And in the last month leading up to the event, things intensify to make sure everything is in order.

“The number of volunteers is amazing,” Wendy Olson, the school’s assistant director said. “This year we had 85 volunteers and that’s not counting the 15 board members and the school staff that are involved … a large majority of the school community pitches in.”

That hard work paid off as roughly 200 people came through the event to take part in the games, eat the food and bid on the silent auction items that had been donated for the cause. This year organizers event got the Wayzata Police and Fire Departments to visit … something that’s always a hit with the children.

“It’s been a really, really good turnout,” Luedke said. “Every time it just gets bigger.”