Play-A-Day kicks off at VCS Friday

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vicksburg Catholic School is continuing its celebration of the 150th anniversary of Catholic education in Vicksburg with what organizers are calling a bigger and better Play-A-Day-In-May-Away.

“The carnival has 10 more activities than in the past,” said Patty Mekus, director of Development and Alumni Affairs for VCS, which is comprised of St. Francis Xavier Elementary and St. Aloysius High. Both schools enroll about 570 students.

The 41st annual festival, set for Saturday, will feature a 40-by-60 foot laser tag spaceship; an oversized race track and tricycles; “Dance Dance Revolution,” a dance-off for two; a two-way bungee jump; a football and baseball speed cage with radar tracking; a human gyroscope; and a toilet-paper toss designed by St. Aloysius eighth-grader Luke Eckstein.

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Also new this year will be a Build a Bear Mill.

“Each bear will be sold for $15,” said Mekus, “and we ordered 100 bears.”

Each year, VCS students are asked to submit festival T-shirt designs. Senior Lauren Rabalais won first place, and second-grader Sarah Jane Pierce won second. Lauren’s design will be on the back of the Play-A-Day shirts, and Sarah Jane’s will be on the pocket and the bear shirts.

Saturday’s activities will start later this year, running from noon until 5 instead of 10 to 3.

“The time change was done to allow children involved in early morning sports activities to be able to now come and enjoy,” Mekus said.

Vendors, mostly food booths run by nonprofits not affiliated with the school, will display their wares at this year’s festival.

“Organizations were required to pay a nominal fee,” Mekus said, “and then whatever proceeds they raise they can keep.”

Play-A-Day activities are also planned for Friday night. A Celebrity Bingo event featuring B.J. Smithhart, football coach; and Richard Hodges, basketball and track coach; Sheriff Martin Pace; and the Rev. Malcolm O’Leary, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will begin at 6:30 with chicken and fish dinners served at 6 for $7.

“Play-A-Day was originally started to help the school financially and to get the community to come on campus,” said Mekus. “We usually make between $13,000 to $15,000, and some of the money goes to supplement teacher salaries.”