The Hokey Pokey Fair: What Is It Really All About?

By Jayna Smith


Friends Megan, Chloe, Alison, and Emily race to the finish line in their potato sacks at last year's Hokey Pokey Fair.  

For nearly 40 years, the Hokey Pokey Fair has been synonymous with the end of the school year and the start of summer for students in the Calais school system.  But what is this fair really all about?

Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Brenda Batson has been involved with the Hokey Pokey Fair since she began at Calais Elementary School as a student teacher.  With lots of help from other faculty members and older students, the fair brings about 20 games with many prizes to be won by students and area children, along with a vast amount of other fun events throughout the afternoon.  

In addition to the various games, kids can select books to take home from the huge used book sale, take a chance on items at the enormous Chinese auction, get a new-to-them toy from the large selection of items at the fun used toy sale, grab some tasty treats at the giant bake sale, and so, so much more.   All of the prices are affordable, most for only a quarter.  And of course, a fair would not be complete without cotton candy, popcorn, and hot dogs available for purchase, among many other delicious carnival snacks.

It all began back in 1979 when the Hokey Pokey Fair was started to raise funds to upgrade the playground equipment.  Over the years, the monies raised by the fair were used for the school's library and the computer lab, among other school needs.  Today, preparation begins before April vacation, and Mrs. Batson rounds up volunteers to work the games and other events.  Many are JMG students and members from the high school baseball or softball teams.  Notices are also sent home to parents and guardians asking for help with baked goods, and of course, adults are welcomed to come to the fair and help run a game.  


The Hokey Pokey Fair is well-attended every year by the school's students and younger children from within the community.  Game are held rain or shine.  In such cases as rain, the entire fair moves inside from the school's backyard playground, as was the situation last year, and Mrs. Batson cannot remember a time that the fair has ever been cancelled.  This year, the Hokey Pokey Fair will be held on Friday, June 12th from noon to 2:00 pm.