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Small Effort Grows Quickly

Community fair raises $9,000.

It started as a lemonade stand.

Several Potomac Elementary School students — led by 9-year-olds Bailey Boyland and Danielle Green and 10-year-old Suzanne Johnson — proposed selling lemonade to raise money for the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.

Then somebody said, “Why not make it a bake sale, too?”

So a lemonade stand bake sale it would be.

But the idea was already snowballing fast. Bailey’s parents Mike and Kit Boyland offered to host the event at Just a Dream Too Farm on River Road. That way some of the girls’ older siblings and their friends — mostly Herbert Hoover Middle School seventh-graders — could wash cars to raise some additional cash.

One of the Boylands’ neighbors offered to donate a moonbounce and cotton candy machine. Friday’s idea for a lemonade stand had morphed completely into a Labor Day carnival at the farm, with a petting zoo, hay rides, pony rides, moonbounce, car wash, and not just lemonade and baked goods but also pizza, watermelon, and cotton candy.

One parent called Hoover and arranged for the boys to receive community service hours for running the car wash and collecting voluntary donations at the entrance. Elementary and middle school students worked the concession stand and helped show younger children the farm’s horses and goats.

“Everybody at school and at my house pitched in a little bit. … That’s how it turned into this,” Bailey said, across the concession table from a waiting crowd.

The students had publicized the event as hastily as they had planned it. They handed out flyers, and posted them in Potomac Village. At 11 a.m. the organizers weren’t sure whether anyone would come. By noon, it was hard to find a place to park.

When the day was done, the carnival no one expected had raised $3,058 in cash.

Two of the Boylands’ neighbors and co-organizers of the fair had offered to match the proceeds dollar-for-dollar, bringing the total to $9,174.

The student workers counted the money themselves Monday night. The boys did the first count and the girls double-checked. No one expected that much.

“Gradually it went from lemonade stand to bake sale to car wash to feeding the horses and everything to a hay ride to what it’s become,” said Bradley Boyland, a Hoover seventh-grader.

Bradley said that his family had friends who evacuated New Orleans to escape the hurricane.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock because I just thought it’s amazing how many people are affected by this hurricane,” he said.

Mike Boyland and other parents refused to take credit for the event — it all started with the girls, they said.