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Oct. 24, 2018 #14-297 PB1
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"We try hard every year to come up with a theme," says "flower pot" Becky Westendorf, of Rochester, left, who with her family, from left, Dan ("gnome"), Harper ("flamingo") and Maia (statue), dressed Saturday as "lawn ornaments." The Westendorfs won a first-place "family costume" award during a cont
Family Time: 8th annual BooFest scares up bucks for schools

By Lindy Lange

Put that Halloween costume to good use at Rochester Public Schools Foundation’s eighth annual BooFest. Geared toward families of preschoolers through middle school, the Rochester Public Schools Foundation’s indoor event provides plenty of opportunity to play, see and do.

“The carnival-style games and activities are set up throughout the school — ring toss, bean bag throw, pumpkin decorating, the fishing game — throw in your line, hook a prize. The one that I’ll be running, kids get to stick their hand into a bag of brains (cooked spaghetti) and search for a pair of eyeballs. It’s going to be really good,” said Melissa Amundsen, RPSF member and BooFest planning team member.

“The games and activities fill the cafeteria and spill out into the hallway and into the gym where all the throwing and running activities are located.”

The costumes-are-encouraged event also offers English and Spanish storytimes hosted by Gage Elementary’s Spanish immersion program, a haunted hallway that can be customized to your preferred scare level, and animals.

“Camp Companion is indeed planning on being at BooFest,” said Amundsen. “The plan is that they’ll bring cats and dogs.”

Admission to the event is free. Tickets are 50 cents each or $18 for 40. Cash only — no checks or credit cards. Most games and activities are two tickets. Food is available for purchase. Money raised at the event is distributed through grants to RPS faculty, staff and students.

“Twice a year we open applications to all RPS staff and students,” said Amundsen. “They propose a project that they want to do or materials that would enhance their curriculum. Since we were founded in 1988, we’ve given out more than $500,000 for things like STEM labs, emergent reader programs, the Green Thumb Initiative.”

Lindy Lange is a licensed school social worker. Family Time appears every Wednesday. Up next: Register to ring the bell and raise funds for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.

If You Go

What: Rochester Public Schools Foundation’s BooFest

Where: Century High School, 2525 Viola Road NE

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

On the web: www.rpsf.org

More fall family fun

• Eagle Bluff’s Halloween-themed Trick-or-Treetops is 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. Open to family members ages 6 and older, participants go tower to tower — crossing bridges, making their way over wire ropes, and walking over wooden logs 30 feet off the ground. Tickets are $25 each, and must be purchased prior to the event at www.eagle-bluff.org (click on Events tab).

• Friday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., it’s Whitewater State Park’s Candlelight Cemetery Walk. Park staff will host an evening walk through a ghost town cemetery complete with stories of pioneers, Civil War veterans and other former Whitewater Valley residents. www.dnr.state.mn.us, 507-312-2300.

• Oxbow Park’s Zollman Zoo is hosting a Pumpkin Party starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Open to all ages, see what happens when park naturalists place pumpkins in some of the animal exhibits. Free admission to the zoo and the program — donations always welcome.  
www.friendsofoxbow.org

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