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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
When the Western was to movie screens what the superhero movie is now, it wasn’t odd to see kids running around with cowboy hats and bandanas wrapped around their faces. As the Western fell out of favor, cowboy hats gave way to Spiderman shirts and the cowboy look dropped out of children’s fashion.
But on Saturday afternoon, Fiske Elementary School brought the wild west theme back for its 27th Wild West Fair, designed to raise money for various school activities. There were picture booths with wanted posters, swinging saloon doors, live ranch animals to pet and a cow-themed mini golf setup.
But there were far more things for the kids to do that went outside of the theme, ranging from bouncy castles to a machine that tested how fast you could throw a baseball.
“This is the Fiske Wild West, an annual fundraiser for the Fiske Elementary PTO,” said Alexa Holian, the co-chair of the Wild West Fair. “We raise funds for field trips and classroom presentations - people coming in and teaching the kids - and family events like game night and the family picnic at the end of the year. It’s the largest annual fundraiser for the Fiske Elementary School. This year, we added a cornhole challenge - that’s a new one - we always try and change up the rides and the bounce houses, so you’ll see a couple differences there.”
With all of these mechanical games and live animals, one might think that kids would be enamored with the carnival-style technology.
Instead, Holian noted that it was a Western-themed dance game and a sugary treat that were catching the kids’ attention.
“The kids love the cowboy strut, our cowboy dance game where they get a treasure jar of prizes. The kids love the rides, especially the mechanical ones, and the snow cones are a huge hit.”
While Holian hoped the event would raise between $35,000 and $40,000, when it came to why the school has stuck with the wild west theme, she didn’t know.
“I don’t know where that started,” she said. “This is our 27th year doing Wild West, but I don’t know who came up with the western theme. Each elementary school in Wellesley has their own theme. Upham does the sports carnival, Bates does the summer fair, and we do the wild west.”
On Saturday, a posse of Wellesley kids got to have fun, and donate money to a good cause, while they were at it. After all, despite there being cowboy hats all over the place, the real theme of the day was generosity.