iBerkshires.com Columnist SectionSue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush
Prizes Needed For Kids Dance-A-ThonBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Pownal, Vt. - The Pownal Community Fair offers a lot to area families; the fair has never charged an admission and its' proximity to Bennington and North Adams and Williamstown in Massachusetts make it exceptionally gas-friendly.
|Mountain Music DJ "Moose" [Bruce Bell]|
On July 29 the fair will celebrate its' 13th year as a family-focused, nostalgic event that features contests including an antique tractor pull, a "kiddie" tractor pull, children's games, a pig roast, craft vendors, and an always-anticipated fireworks finale.
Youth Dance Marathon
A wildly popular fair tradition is a three-hour youth dance marathon hosted by Mountain Music DJ "Moose" [Bruce Bell], a town resident who keeps youth from toddlers to teens moving to music and whose goal is to award at least one prize to every marathon participant.
"Grand prizes" are awarded to select youth who manage to keep moving for the entire three hours, even during the music-free spans when "Moose" chats up the crowd or issues a marathon "challenge."
"I try to keep it animated, keep it lively," "Moose" said during a recent interview. "I might say, 'hey, go get a woman to dance with,' and the kids grab their mom, or their grandmother, a sister or an aunt. People get into it and the kids have a blast."
Prize donations from individuals or local businesses are being sought so that "Moose" can continue the tradition of giving a prize to all youth participants.
It's not all about dancing skills; it is all about fun, Moose said.
Dozens of youth danced for hours during a 2005 Pownal Community Fair kids dance marathon, hosted by "Moose."
Donations are now being accepted, "Moose" said, and he offered information about how the prizes are awarded.
In addition to the grand prizes, which are most often given to a female and a male dancer who managed to move for the entire marathon, prizes are given for specific dances, specific challenges, and special contests such as "music trivia," Moose said. In some instances, more than one prize is awarded for a particular dance challenge.
Some businesses have a fair day "open policy" for dance prizes, Moose said. For example, the Route 7 Stewart's Shop sells ice cream from a booth during the fair; the store manager has allowed Moose to offer free ice cream cones as prizes on an as-needed basis, he said.
"So if I run out of the little stuffed animals, the smaller stuff like that, the kids can get an ice cream," he said.
It is not unusual for Moose to generate cash donations that are used as prizes while the marathon unfolds.
"I've grabbed people right out of the crowd and gotten donations for prizes," he said. "Three hours of non-stop dancing is a lot and the kids deserve prizes."
"It Makes Their Day"
An active community member who helps out with Halloween and Christmas events and provides DJ services at town elementary school functions, Moose is a familiar persona to many area children. With the marathon popularity growing, he wants to be certain that all participating children receive a prize, he said.
"The kids dance marathon is really becoming a favorite tradition," he said. "I've been at the supermarket and had kids come right up to me saying 'hey, are we dancing again this year?' In fact, I was the DJ at a wedding and there was a kid there who came up to me and said he'd won prizes at the fair dance marathon. He remembered me from that, and he said he was coming again this year. We welcome all kids and all abilities; we'll make room for wheelchairs and the kids can just have fun being part of it. That's what makes it for the kids. They get so excited when somebody picks them out for a prize. The trinkets that they win mean that somebody thought they were the best for that dance, and they really light up. It makes their day."
First-Time Adult Dance-A-Thon Planned
New this year is a planned adult dance-a-thon to be hosted by Moose.
Moose agreed to DJ for the evening hours leading up to the fireworks and would like to offer adult prizes during that event.
"We were hoping to have something really nice for an adult grand prize," he said. "We'd like to draw a good amount of adult participation."
Those who donate cash or prizes will receive mention as the events progress, Moose said.
"We would appreciate the support and of course we would acknowledge donors," he said.
Any person or business willing to make a donation to the Pownal Community Fair children or adult dance-a-thons are asked to contact Moose by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone. He may be reached at 802-823-5296 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. [work] or at 802-823-5338 after 6 p.m. [home].
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.