Strelitz International Academy Fall Festival: A new event in Tidewater

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Other News

Carin Simon
Beyond the games, the food, and the festivities, the Strelitz International Academy Fall Festival demonstrated the power of community with more than 750 people attending. Held on Sunday, Oct. 22 at the Sandler Family Campus, the event exceeded expectations.

For several years, the SIA Early Years program put on a festive “Falling into Shabbat” for young students and parents on a Fall Friday morning. This year, Strelitz International Academy chose to combine their signature and popular fall event with food, vendors, activity rentals, and live music to create a Fall Festival for the entire community.

As families walked through the Sandler Family Campus Cardo’s doors, they were greeted with a Fall Wonderland, complete with hay bales, pumpkins, and scarecrows lining the grounds. Admission to the festival gave children unlimited access to carnival games, pony rides, barrel train rides, and more. The festival offered many activities for toddlers including SIA’s signature Diaper Derby, fall crafts, pumpkin pounding, and sensory bins. Families ate hot dogs and hamburgers fresh off the grill, along with lots of parve treats including cotton candy, brownies, and popcorn.

Current and former parents, faculty, and volunteers helped – supporting the festival with set up, check-in and food sales, while middle and high school SIA alumni and other former students showed up to run the carnival games and see their SIA friends and teachers.
Brad Bangel, an SIA grandparent, Lonnie Slone, Kenny Berklee, and Lance Epstein of Freetomology added the live music – delivering the perfect festival vibe, along with the great fall weather.

Thanks to generous Fall Festival sponsors, the school was able to make the first annual event a successful fundraiser, while also providing a wonderful way for families, students, alumni, and community members to come together for a fun afternoon.

In addition to sponsorships, the festival hosted community partners and business vendors such as Camp JCC, Beth Sholom Village, PJ Library, Sharkeys Cuts for Kids, Virginia Business Systems, and others. Raffle prizes with items all donated by local businesses were displayed in the Marty Einhorn Pavilion. Winners were announced at the close of the festival.

In such a difficult time for the Jewish community, many attendees expressed their appreciation for having an event for families to enjoy together.

Since the First Annual Strelitz Fall Festival was such a great success, next year’s Strelitz Fall Festival is already planned to take place on Sunday, November 3, 2024.

Carin Simon is director of advancement at Strelitz International Academy.