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by Susan Mikula Campbell
The West Street Elementary School Parent Group annual basket auction and chicken barbecue last year was an "awesome" success, according to Co-President Jeff Haseley.
While casting about for an idea for a new addition to this year's event to be held on Friday, April 26, he remembered how much fun it was years ago when he was a freshman at Niagara-Wheatfield High School, and a cow bingo event was held to raise money for a music department competition trip.
He's hoping West Street's version of cow bingo will get the entire community involved in this year's fundraiser.
A contented, well-fed cow from nearby Milleville Farms will be brought to the school's soccer grounds where a giant grid will be marked with non-sequential numbered squares.
"Wherever she goes 'No. 2' on a square, the person with the winning ticket number is our winner," Haseley said. "This is a Sanborn thing. It's a good community event."
Cutoff date for the $5 tickets for cow bingo is Wednesday, April 24. Tickets can be obtained at the school, 5700 West St., Sanborn (215-3200), at Wagner's Farm Market, 2672 Lockport Road, Sanborn, at Hoover's Restaurant, 6035 Ward Road, Sanborn, or by calling Haseley at 716-609-4061.
Cow bingo starts about 5 or 5:30 p.m. and goes until "whenever it poops," Haseley said.
There's plenty more to do in the meantime, with events running from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Chiavetta's chicken sale and the basket auction start at 4 p.m. Basket drawing is at 7:15 p.m. and ticket holders are not required to be present. Top off the chicken dinner ($8.50 pre-sale or $9 at the door) with dessert from the bake sale.
There is also a spring raffle with $5 tickets providing five chances to win the first place prize of a 46-inch television, second place prize of a $400 Splash Lagoon gift card, third place prize of an Apple iPod, fourth prize of a grand Jacuzzi package from Russells Steaks, Chops and More, and fifth prize of a Kindle Fire HD.
West Street's fourth- and fifth-grade chorus and band students will perform about 5 p.m.
"It's nice to see their pride when they perform," Haseley said.
Sanborn Fire Chief Rob Hoover will do a fire safety program for kids and the Sanborn Volunteer Fire Co.'s ladder truck will be parked outside the school. The Niagara County Sheriff's Office will provide DARE coloring books.
"My son and his friends go ballistic when they see fire trucks," said Haseley, whose son Timmy is a kindergartener and daughter Julia is a second-grader at West Street.
Best of all, funds raised at this annual event go back to the school.
"Due to the budget, the funds are just not there, so we try to help them out," Haseley said. "We just purchased seven brand-new art tables for the art teacher; the ones she had were in really bad shape."
West Street Principal Theron Mong said his enthusiastic parents group is much appreciated. The group also has raised funds for new books to support instruction and special family programs such as Nickel City Reptiles.
"These are things that greatly enhance the school experience for the students," he said.
Coincidentally, dealing with farm animals is nothing new for Mong, who grew up in Scio, N.Y., with cows "right across the street." He also worked on a farm as a teenager.
However, he admits, "I haven't been up close and personal with a cow in a while."