Avery and Alric Lyons made good use of the fall backdrop.

Nearly 500 costumed children and families flooded the grounds of Stanley Switlik Elementary School on October 23 to play games, dance to tunes and enjoy great food at the school’s Spooktacular Halloween carnival. Organized by the school’s parent-teacher organization, the day raised nearly $14,000 for school programs, travel and supplies throughout the year.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community in terms of sponsors and volunteers,” PTO Treasurer Katie Lewis said. “The children all had a great time, the weather couldn’t have been better and the money goes directly to the children and staff to help the school with whatever they see fit for the future.”

Along with the PTO Board of Directors, carnival organizers extend special thanks to the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative for sponsoring DJ Trae Dae’s musical entertainment; Sam Williams for his bouncing house donations; Marathon High School boosters for their food donations; all over 60 donors for Silent Auction items; and carnival chairs Sally Powell, Marie Blanton, Lara Martin, Crystal Umpleby, Jessica D’Ascanio, Sarah Simcic, Kat Vals and Ginger Sayer.

Photos by KATIE LEWIS/Contribution

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full-time at the Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community helping several organizations and friends rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. A keen runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends most of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.

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