There’s a free carnival set for Friday in downtown Statesboro and area families and children are invited to enjoy an afternoon of fun.
Pineland Mental Health is closing about a block section on North College Street in front of their building from noon to 5 p.m. Friday for the carnival that organizers hope will combine a fun time with letting area residents know about several services available to them.
“Every year we try to do a family outreach for the community, basically to inform everyone about all the services we have available and to bring some light to those services,” said Joseph Folsom, a clinical mental health counselor who is the site manager for Pineland’s Bulloch Counseling Center.
Folsom said the event is being planned by Pineland’s three programs that are focused on families and the youth of the community — Systems of Care, the Impact Clubhouse and the Apex program.
“The carnival event will be educational, but also a lot of fun,” Folsom said. “Especially considering the year we’ve had, we want to do something fun and COVID-friendly.
“We’re having a street carnival, where we’ll be giving out cotton candy and popcorn. We’ll have some interactive games like ski-ball, a lumberjack throw and a football toss — games where you don’t have a lot of people or children crammed together like a bouncy house.”
Everything at the event is free, but Folsom said families and children will be asked to sign in to get a free ticket, which will be good for free cotton candy, popcorn and a drink.
Also, Folsom said there will be a DJ playing family-friendly music and raffles for free prizes, as well.
“We’re trying to do something different this time to get as many people from the community as involved, as possible,” Folsom said. “We urge everyone to come out and meet our counselors, to see who they are, to meet the people who are working behind the scenes in the school systems and the clinics.”
Folsom said previous events were geared more toward people who were already clients of Pineland. He wants Friday’s fun to draw a larger crowd.
“We hope the carnival will attract more people from the community who are not presently receiving Pineland services and perhaps they’ll learn how we might help them, as well,” he said. “We want to let as many people know as possible that we have these programs available and how they can sign up to gain access to the programs.”
During the carnival, Folsom said Pineland will have a booth set up to accept donations of diapers, feminine hygiene products and wipes.
“We have a women’s residential program that is always in need of those things,” he said.
The carnival will be held in front of Pineland’s Bulloch Counseling Center at 11 N. College St.