Golden tickets, a chocolate river, and Willy Wonka himself could all be found at the school’s 66th annual Circus, based on Roald Dahl’s bestselling novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Circus welcomed around 700 attendees and 185 parent and student volunteers to the Lower School (LS) campus two weeks after the originally scheduled date, which was rained out. The organizers are still tallying the total money raised at the event.
In addition to the anticipated barbecued food, blow-up bouncy houses, and sixth-grade dunk tank, this year’s circus featured a number of Wonka-themed activities like the Oompa Loompa maze, which invited children to follow an obstacle course on the playground structure.
Also new to the Circus this year was a presentation from Upper School (US) Eco-Reps Katie Randall and Klara Kummerle (both ’19) about sustainability and the environment. The duo organized a seed planting station and created a trivia game where children received candy when they answered a question about the environment correctly. At the game’s conclusion, the kids were shown how to discard the candy wrappers in an eco-friendly way.
“Since the candy wrappers were not recyclable, [we] sent them to Terracycle, a company that reuses the wrappers to make other everyday products,” Klara said.
At the stage on the basketball court, Callie Heppner ’27 played the drums, Lena Ishii ’25 danced, the “Room 405 Middle School Band” performed a song, and a collection of other LS students demonstrated Tae Kwon Do forms, Bollywood moves, and Irish Dance steps, among other performances.
Kimya Bhargava ’23 said her favorite part of the Circus was the chance to see community members on the weekend.
“The Circus was a really good bonding experience between grades, and I enjoyed meeting my friends and teachers [whom] I normally would not see every day in a setting outside of the classroom.”
Vivien Keravuori ’20, who volunteered at the face-painting table, also enjoyed socializing with LS students and faculty.
“It was so fun to go back to the Lower School and see old friends and teachers and relive the fun experiences I had there,” she said. “I had a great time meeting the younger kids and helping out the BB&N community.”
Head Organizer Lisa Ashton P ’26 ’29 said that the LS Parents Association began planning the Circus in January.
“I have always loved the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—and really all of Roald Dahl’s books—and now my kids do, too, [so] I thought it would be a lot of fun and lend itself to lots of options for activities, games, decorations, and character visits!” Ms. Ashton said.
LS Director Shera Selzer, retired as of this summer, praised the generosity of the volunteers for organizing such a joyful gathering of families and reflected, “It is a wonderful, fun event that brings the whole community together.”