Taking aim, Thea Linsley tossed a rope hoop at a group of brightly-colored bottles. Behind her, Ariya King sucked on a lollipop, deep in concentration, as she painted sharp teeth onto her miniature pumpkin. Around them, other children played on front of El Centro de la Raza, along South Roberto Maestas Festival Street, closed off for the day for Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool’s free annual fall festival.
While it was also meant to fundraise for the preschool, the festival was more about bringing the community together on one of South Seattle’s last sunny days, said Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool Teacher Cecelia Linsley. Shielding her eyes from the sun peeking through the clouds, she smiled as she looked around the area, which was closed off as a play street.
“I feel like so much of the work we do at [the school] is about community, and we are always working at how we are a better part, and better members of our community,” Linsley said. “I feel like this is part of that. … Our events are always things that are open to the community.”
Throughout the day, about 200 to 300 people filtered through the festival. Linsley estimated the day would bring in between $1,500 and $1,800. Last year, the school raised more than $1,800. The money will support her and the other two teachers’ salaries, as well as classroom supplies and other costs related to running the school.
The festival also featured a lion dance by the International Lion Dance Team, as well as a fire truck visit, a food drive, cider press, and a bake sale.
Featured Photo: International Lion Dance Team members Daniel Liang, left, and Danny Nguyen, right, wait to perform, during the Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool’s annual fall festival at South Roberto Maestas Festival Street in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 6, 2018. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)