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'Llewellyn Carnival' annually celebrates community

DAVID F. ASHTON - The tug-o-war is a simple game, but plenty of fun. The Community Carnival, a tradition looked forward to by students and families of Llewellyn Elementary School, as well as the broader Westmoreland community, came very close to not taking place this year.

With key organizers having to step away, Llewellyn parent Eric Keyser – who is also next year's PTA President – stepped up to make sure the carnival would take place on June 3.

“Because I have two children here at Llewellyn, I know how much this carnival means to everyone,” Keyser remarked at the school that afternoon, while surveying all the kids and parents having a good time at the school. “I did take it over a little ‘late in the game’, but many of us are working together to what we can, here on this very warm day.”

The kids and their parents didn’t seem to notice any shortcomings; the schoolyard was abuzz with activities, games, and socializing. Behind the venerable elementary school local vendors were set up in a temporary food court, serving hot foods and cold treats.

“I believe it’s important to keep this tradition going,” Keyser said, “Because it’s our sendoff celebration for our fifth-graders going on to Sellwood Middle School. And, because we welcome everyone in our community to come, it’s a festival for our entire neighborhood, and beyond – regardless of where their kids go to school.”

Over the course of the year, some 80 parent volunteers played a part in putting on the carnival, with more than 50 volunteers helping on the day itself, including a couple dozen from local churches, organizations, and businesses.

Some of the activities, like the “water-balloon soak chair” attraction, helped raise funds for the Llewellyn Foundation to pay for additional teachers at the school.

Keyser asked THE BEE to publically thank “Midway Master” Chris Dolan, and Nigel Clift, both of whom came in to help set up that morning – and were still working hard during the carnival.

“The best part of this for me is seeing all the people here, and seeing all the kids being happy,” Keyser said.