Juneau Co-operative Preschool's annual fundraiser moves to T&H Community Center

Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2009

This year, the Juneau Co-operative Preschool is adding a little zip to its annual fundraiser.

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Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

The preschool's Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah dinner and variety show will be held at the Tlingit & Haida Community Center, at 3235 Hospital Drive, rather than at Centennial Hall where it has been held in past years. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

"We are hoping (it) will be family friendly, as well as a convenient location for the community," said Judy Campbell, a parent and the co-op's board co-president. "During the cold winter month of February, it's nice to have a family-friendly event in Juneau that serves as entertainment, as well as dinner for the whole family."

Campbell said the event, which started more than 20 years ago, is the co-op's main fundraiser for the year. It helps support teacher salaries, student scholarships, curriculum supplies and the school's operating costs.

"This has always been a great event for the community of Juneau," she said. "And watching a group of around 30 or so preschoolers get on stage and perform in front of a group is always a hoot to watch. ... And bidding on auction items is also a great way to support such a long-standing local program, such as the Juneau Co-op Preschool."

According to Campbell, the fundraiser's name originated from the "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" song preschoolers sang as they zipped up their coats to leave the concert every year.

"So that's always the ending," she said. "That kind of helps little ones get their coats on and get ready to be gathered up by their parents to head home."

Along with its famous exit song, Saturday's fundraiser will feature a talent show portion during which preschoolers will perform a song and skit, "Cat up a Tree," taken from the book by Anne Hafit.

"One of the things I like best is that we do one act where the preschool kids get up on stage and perform," said Rhonda Gardinier, an administrator and teacher for the school. "That's my very favorite just because (it's) their 10 minutes of fame. They're either terrified or delighted or both. ... They have fun and they own it."

The preschool is actually reviving the skit from four years ago.

"It's a good one, and we had so many kids who were cats this year at preschool that it just seemed to fit," Gardinier said. "The cats were abounding, so we had to go back to 'Cat Up a Tree' again."

The preschool also will revive the preschool parent band, the Go Dad Go Band, which will play some jazzy tunes, including "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" from "Aristocats" and a song with lyrics from Dr. Seuss.

"We find all the secret talents of parents and then put them up on stage for a night to the delight of their children," Gardinier said. "We give them a reason to dust off their instruments and get together with other closet musicians and play music. So it's very fun, and it's inspiring for the kids to see their parents up there and get up on stage and perform."

Furthermore, a preschool alumni band, The Alaska Travelers, made up of older siblings and fifth-graders Max Blust, Elias Antaya and Robert Newman, will play their fiddles.

"They've been in the Folk Festival for several years in a row," Gardinier said, "and they've been known to be seen out busking on the docks in the summer time earning their college money. They're talented fifth-graders."

And aside from a parent-and-child "Baby Beluga" sing-a-long, parent volunteer Margie Hamburger and Gardinier will perform a story, "Frog and Toad."

"Those are the main acts that should be a lot of fun to watch," Campbell said. "I'm looking forward to lots of happy kids faces having fun with their families."

The evening also includes a silent auction, live dessert auction, gourmet family dinner and game area with carnival-type games and face painting. Jeff Brown will emcee as well as do balloon art during the activities.

"This is indeed our major fundraiser for the year for the preschool," Campbell said. "And we have some very generous businesses and individuals who have donated items for our silent auction."

Items for the silent auction will include an Era helicopter tour, Northstar Trekking glacier trek, Mount Roberts Tramway passes, round-trip tickets on Wings of Alaska, Rainforest and Taproot Yoga passes, six homemade lemon meringue pies door-delivered for six months, architectural and marketing services, massages, professional print photographs, hand-knitted items, Rejuvenation Spa, Shoefly, Rainbow Foods, Full Circle Farm organic produce certificates, a dump truck full of dirt and a Hearthside Books dress-up trunk rental.

For dinner, chef Amber King will cook Italian pasta, salad, fruit and beverages. The price is $5 for a dinner and drinks with additional cost for fruit kabobs.

Gardinier said Saturday's fundraiser will be "a lot of silly fun," and she welcomes all adults, whether they have children or not.

"Although it's a family concert and we do a lot of stuff for kids, it's definitely something that adults can come and have a very good time at," Gardinier said. "Unattended adults are welcome to come. You don't have to bring a kid with you to come to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. You can be kid or a kid at heart."

• Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at 523-2272 or

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