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CARES Spring Fling begins tomorrow


April 25, 2012
You've probably heard the buzz: the CARES program's three-day Spring Fling is coming to the Crawford County 4-H Community Park south of Marengo beginning tomorrow (Thursday).

For several years, the before- and after-school program has held a demolition derby fundraiser at the park, and officials figured why not make it much more this year.

"We just wanted to expand on the event," said CARES director Kim Grizzel.

Doing so would not only afford the CARES program, which relies heavily on grant dollars to supplement its income from student fees, an opportunity to raise more funds, but to provide a larger festival for the community.

Grizzel said 1,352 students in the Crawford County Community School Corp. have utilized the CARES and PACK programs, who together serve students in grades K through 12, at one point during this school year.

The CARES program, which serves elementary school students, on June 1 will begin the fourth and final year of a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program grant that provided the program $475,000 in each of the first two years and $440,000 in the third year. The amount for the upcoming year will decrease to $385,000.

Grizzel said the CARES program has decreased its budget and has been careful to bank as much of its student fees — which are income-based and range from $1.50 to $2 a day for the morning program, $1.50 to $3.50 for the afternoon program and $4 to $8 per day in the summer — in order to compensate for the decreasing grant.

"We have over $150,000 saved," she said.

While that may sound like a lot, without additional grant revenue, it will not last long, Grizzel said. Requests for a new 21st Century grant are expected to be taken soon, but, she said, officials have already said that, because of budget cuts, the grants will only be for between $50,000 and $250,000 annually.

"That's why we're doing things like (the Spring Fling) to make money," Grizzel said.

The CARES program also has sought additional revenue streams, including recently having applied to be able to accept daycare vouchers as well as teaming up with the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau in applying for a grant from the Office of Faith-Based Services, Grizzel said. That grant, she explained, would allow CARES to utilize AmeriCorps workers — persons who either plan to attend college or owe student loans — as tutors. Grizzel said the application is for five tutors at each site.

"For living in an area that does not have a lot of corporation resources to draw from, I feel like we are in as good of shape" as possible as far as being diversified in funding resources, she said.

Tomorrow's Spring Fling schedule will include carnival rides — for both younger and older patrons — from Brady Amusements from 5 to 9 p.m., a Pretty Baby and Tiny Tot Contest at 6:30 and silent auction items set up in the Clover Room. Contestants may enter that evening.

A few of the items to be included in the silent auction are free passes to Koch Family Children's Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Cincinnati Zoo, Dinosaur World, Ripley's Aquarium, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Kentucky Derby Museum and Marengo Cave and Cave Country Canoes, a free dental exam, series of X-rays and prophylaxis from Dr. John Patrick Click at Milltown and gift certificates from several area restaurants.

The silent auction will conclude at 9 p.m. on Friday.

Other events on Friday will include carnival rides from 5 to 10 p.m., a Lil' Miss and Master Contest at 6:30 immediately followed by a Princess Contest, and a 50-50 raffle. The deadline has passed to enter the Lil' Miss and Master and Princess contests.

Saturday will feature an outside flea market, which will open at 7 a.m., and a car show at 10. All makes and models are eligible, and pre-registration is $12, while day-of-show entry is $15. The first 25 entries will receive a T-shirt, and judging will conclude at 3 p.m.

Also on Saturday will be a cornhole tournament, cakewalk, free-throw contest, the 50-50 drawing during the car show and carnival rides beginning at 5. A hot dog eating contest and chili cook-off will be at noon, and a photographer will be available to take family pictures, also beginning at noon. The demolition derby will begin at 7.

Indoor vendor booths, featuring arts and crafts, jewelry, hair bows, lavender products and more, and concessions will be available on all three days.

Admission to the demolition derby will cost $8 for adults and $5 for children 11 and younger. The entry fee is $35, while a pit pass costs $25. For more information, contact the CARES office at 365-2530. Rules and regulations are available at www.leadfootmotorsport.net.

In case of rain, the demolition derby will be held Sunday, likely in the afternoon.

Parking will be free, and bracelets for unlimited rides will be available for $16 each night. Single rides will cost $2.

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Barbara Shaw
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