Manhasset Fall Festival to support district’s STEM programs

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The inaugural Manhasset Fall Festival Oct. 14 will have hay rides, pumpkin decorating and pony rides to support Manhasset school district's STEM initiatives.

The inaugural Manhasset Fall Festival is coming to Strathmore Vanderbilt Country Club next month to help raise money for the local school district’s STEM initiatives and programs.

Jennifer Herber, the festival chairwoman, said the event is hosted by the Tower Foundation, which has helped the district get smartboards and wireless internet into classrooms.

“The Tower Foundation tries to support the school in funding mostly technology initiatives, basically wherever the budget falls short of things that we think we need but they can’t quite budget,” Herber said.

Shelter Rock and Munsey Park assistant principal Theresa Curry said the Tower Foundation has helped with many STEM initiatives at the district, including the new zSpace labs at the elementary schools and secondary school.

Curry said zSpace machines combine virtual and augmented reality through a monitor and special glasses, allowing students to become more immersed in scientific labs, mathematical equations, geography lessons and more.

“One of the examples the students use as they learn how to operate the machinery is they can actually hold a human heart in their hand and they can feel it beating,” Curry said. “They can then dissect through the various layers and watch the valves open and close. One of the neat things about this technology is not only does it really allow the teachers to bring experiences that you would never be able to provide in a typical classroom setting but also provides opportunities for our children who struggle with learning to really hold something in their hand and actually see it in a tactile sense that maybe in an auditory or visual sense would have been a challenge for them.”

Herber said the festival, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14, is geared toward elementary-age students, complete with hay rides, pumpkin decorating and seven bounce houses.

Entrance to the festival is free, but many rides and games will require either tickets or the festival bracelet.

Bracelets purchased in advance are $20 and those purchased at the festival are $25.

The festival also features a new pumpkin patch, tended since June by the McGoey family to bring 1,000 pumpkins to Manhasset. Herber said some decorated pumpkins will be for sale alongside corn stalks, hay bales and mums.

Herber said a DJ will lead a number of free games throughout the day, including a sack race, three-legged race and candy corn relay. Live performances by Manhasset middle and high school students will be featured between noon and 2 p.m.

Lunch will be available during the festival, as well as fall treats like caramel apples and apple cider. Additional parking and access is available at Shelter Rock Elementary School.

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