It came down to the wire, but all the money needed for the Franklin Avenue Kids Day this Saturday has been raised.
Since the beginning of June, several local kids have been spending their Saturdays putting on bake sales to raise the necessary $3,500 for the event. With $100 left to go in the final hour of their bake sale at , they sold enough baked goods and ice cream to make sure that the kids day will run for a fourth consecutive year.
"We didn't get going on the fundraising side until May, which is something we'll definitely change next year," said Kevin Phillip, Founder of Franklin Avenue Kids Day. "We've consistently been raising $300 or $400 every Saturday, but it was still nervewracking."
Phillip said they were still $1,500 short of their goal in the final week of fundraising, leading to questions about whether or not the event would even take place.
"I just let the community know that we needed to have this money or we couldn't have the event," said Phillip. "We immediately received a $500 donation from Franklin Park and $500 from the local community association. We also put cups on almost every business along Frankln Ave. to get whatever help we could."
Franklin Avenue Kids Day first began in 2008 under much humbler surroundings, initially operating as a skate ramp in a neighborhood parking lot. The event progressed to a water theme the following year on Sterling Pl. between Franklin and Classon Aves., and moved into a carnival theme the following year.
This year, the event will remain with the same carnival theme, but will include more adventurous activities in order to accommodate a larger range of children.
"We'll have rock climbing, a dunk tank and obstacle courses this year," said Phillip. "There will still be some of the carnival aspects from last year though like face painting and popcorn and cotton candy machines."
Many of the kids who took part in the original Kids Day have since returned to help out with the fundraising for this year's event.
"I remember how much fun I had in the skate park that first year and wanted others to have a fun time as well," said 17-year-old Dayton Orr of Prospect Heights. "Even though I'm too old for some of the aspects that are geared towards little kids, it's still important that everyone gets a chance to experience it.
Franklin Avenue Kids Day will take place on July 23 starting at 10:00am, at Franklin Ave. between Park and Sterling Pl.