Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 37
Friday September 16 - September 22, 2005

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Jesters Children’s Fair – Can It Ever Be Better?

Foundation stone laid for new Children and Family Shelter building

Jesters Children’s Fair – Can It Ever Be Better?

Mike Franklin

The Jesters Children’s Fair gets bigger and better every year. Some heavy overnight rain had softened things up a bit at the Diana Driving Range, but not to the extent that vehicles could not get to their stalls to set up for the day. A couple of brief drizzles during the day were all it came to and, apart from the humidity, the weather was perfect. So there was nothing to deter the enthusiasm of the organizers, the eighty stallholders, the performers entertaining throughout the day, and the many, many fairgoers that came by.

Pratheep ‘Peter’ Malhotra, Graham Macdonald, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood, Soppin Thappajug and Jintana Wechchot at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jester Kevin set it all up at the Diana Garden Resort & Driving Range for the fourth consecutive year, a venue that provides the best facilities one could ever hope for to stage a major event such as this. He planned the best layout yet, skillfully designed to welcome fairgoers and make it easy for them to shop the stalls, relax in the shaded areas, enjoy the activities, demonstrations and stage performances and hear everything, thanks to Rick Bryant arranging the live music. In large numbers they came throughout the day, many staying for the duration as there was always something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

The action packed day began at 10 a.m. with the Opening Ceremony. Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood, Jesters Charity Drive Committee Chairman, gave a warm welcoming speech acknowledging the enormous support from all the sponsors, including the record breaking 20 Platinum sponsors supporting the Jesters Charity Drive this year.

Due credit was afforded to the Honorary Jester committee members who freely contribute essential skills, expertise and time to make fund raising for ‘Care for Kids’ successful. The ceremonial ribbon was cut by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Sopin Thappajug (managing director of the Diana Group and host to the Children’s Fair), Lewis Underwood (chairman, Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive Committee) and Graham Macdonald (JCD corporate sponsorship director). Mayor Niran gave a welcoming address and the 2005 Jesters Children’s Fair was officially open.

My Children’s raffle ‘Family Team’

Marching bands from Pattaya School No. 3 performed with precision and enthusiasm to open, and conclude, the opening ceremony.

Then it was over to emcees Neil Smith and Jester Pistol Pete (for the many Thai fairgoers), to keep things going at pace throughout the day, and they did just that.

The Children’s Variety Show was first up featuring Steve’s Circus Workshop, balloon modelers, stilt walkers, jugglers and a Magic Show. The Variety Show continued, on and off, throughout the day. Performances that ran through to midday included the Fountain of Life Children, Redemptorist School for the Blind Choir and Band, the Pattaya No. 3 Kindergarten band, Nareethip School Dancers, a stilt walker and juggler stage show, Eckie the famous Clown and Annie’s Band’.

At 12 noon it was time for Children’s games in front of the stage organized by Spencer, Linden, Nick and Isabelle with many prizes donated by Pattaya International Ladies Club. That was the first of three children’s games sessions organized throughout the day.

Professional entertainer Mike Gerrard was next up, followed by music from the Macedon Band. More Children’s games followed until it was time for the next entertainment session, this time from Yvonne & Friends, a fire-eater, juggler, magician and, to conclude that set, Eckie the Clown was back on. Then even more children’s games as the non-stop action continued. The ever popular Climbing Wall and Bouncy Complex were busy throughout and the Horseshoe Point ponies were definitely never short of young riders.

The Children’s Activity area was a special feature at the fair this year providing the most fun for the younger ones. Primarily organized by the local international school communities, these stalls featured all sorts of fun and games. Staff, students and parents from Garden International School, St Andrews International School, The Regent’s School, International School Eastern Seaboard and Montessori Children’s Centre turned out in force to support the ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive, and have fun.

This year the accent was on ‘Lucky’ with lucky numbers, lucky color wheel, lucky lollipops, lucky dips and lots more. The kids did not go hungry either, as the Fountain of Life had set up a 144 sq. meter ‘Chow Hall’ providing a ‘fine dining’ facility for more than 500 children to enjoy. Far more meals than the Fountain of Life Sisters and staff normally prepare for kids at the Center. For the fairgoers there were some 19 food stalls offering a wide variety of Western and Asian cuisine, and something to satisfy every palate.

Children’s games continued then, at around 3 p.m., it was the presentation of bicycles to ‘Best of the Class’ Fountain of Life kids for Chris Kays Scholarship Fund, sponsored by Mark Gorda and Russell Finch.

Meanwhile, the professional entertainers were back on stage until it was time for the Children’s Raffle Draw. The support this year for the Children’s Charity Raffle was staggering. The wide range of 26 valuable sponsored draw prizes, worth over 60,000 baht, were eagerly won, and deservedly so as the Children’s Raffle raised 150,000 baht, nearly 50% up on last year. This was largely due to the sterling work of Muffy Kerr & the Jesters, Bernie Tuppin, Reina Rances & BPH staff, my family ‘team’, and a much appreciated effort by student teams from the International School of the Regent’s.

Many thanks to main sponsor Pattaya Sports Club, Jester Neil, Brown Farm, the Diana Group, Pattaya Trader, and the US Navy for Mickey Monkey and Percy Panda.

The Diamond Shop made a spectacular Lucky Number draw for a gold chain with a Jester pendant valued at 45,000 baht.

After that excitement it was time for the children to ‘take the strain’ in the exciting Tug-O-War and watch a lot of falling about. The ‘grown-up children’, not to be outdone,’ had an unofficial pull later.

The final hour of the fair was given to live music from Annie’s band and Pop’s Pattaya All Stars, a final tour of the stalls and, for the organizers and stallholders, a well deserved visit to the Jesters beer tent, or The Blue Parrot for a few chilled Margaritas.

And, if it all got too exciting at any time, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital nurses were there to give a free blood pressure check, this year for adults and children. Sincere thanks also to the Bangkok Pattaya Ambulance Unit, on station all day to tend to anything more serious.

There was never a dull moment and certainly no lack of enthusiasm or enjoyment throughout the day. In fact, from very early on one could detect a real ‘buzz’ at the fair, and a great atmosphere that lasted to the close.

Sadly at 6 p.m. it was time to wrap, with the inevitable few lingering on, sitting around, wanting more, and wondering how the day had passed so quickly.

It had been another hugely successful Jesters Children’s Fair.

A children’s day in a one-off ‘Children’s Park’ created uniquely at the Diana Driving range just for the event. A day for the whole family to enjoy, and the only day of its kind throughout the year.

Finally, the Jesters ‘Care for Kids’ Charity Drive committee sincerely thanks all the fairgoer families and children that came to support the Children’s fair, the stallholders, our Charity Drive partners – namely Baltex, Jameson’s, Pattaya Mail and the Diana Group; all the Platinum, Gold Silver, Bronze and Pledge program sponsors, and the Diana Garden Resort & Driving Range for providing the ideal venue.

Can it ever be better? We will have to wait until next year to find out!

Foundation stone laid for new Children and Family Shelter building

Suchada Tupchai

September 1 saw the laying of the foundation stone for the new building at Banglamung Children and Family Shelter. Pattaya International Ladies Club president Sharon Tibbitts, Helle Rants้n, welfare coordinator for the Rayong Ladies Circle, Gerry Carpenter, president of Pattaya Sports Club and PSC charity chairman Bernie Tuppin were amongst those taking part in the ceremony.

Sharon Tibbitts (right), president of PILC, and Helle Rants้n, welfare coordinator for the Rayong Ladies Circle.

Tuppin said that the PILC, RLC, Jesters Care 4 Kids and PSC understood the problems facing the social welfare department. The existing premises for the Children and Family Shelter were old, and there was not enough room to accommodate those seeking help.

The new building has a budget of 1.6 million baht. It will include a living section, kitchen and dining room, plus an office for the staff. Construction is due to take four months, with the building ready for occupation in January.

Pisit Pollpipat, director of the Children and Family Shelter, said the shelter had been open for 11 years. At present there are 21 children and women staying there, and there is an increasing demand for shelter due to social problems, particularly those related to physical and sexual abuse within families.

During the ceremony earth was placed in the ground around the principal pillar of the new building before the guests visited the existing building and spoke to those who have sought shelter there.

Visitors talk with Pisit.

Pisit Pollpipat, director of the Children and Family Shelter, thanking the supporters.

Laying the foundation stone are (from left) Gerry Carpenter, president of PSC, Sharon Tibbitts, president of PILC, Helle Rants้n, welfare coordinator for the Rayong Ladies Circle, and Bernie Tuppin, charity chairman of PSC.

The old building

Women and children come to ask for help at the shelter.

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